My sculpture in the Pratt Institute collection was selected by David Weinrib, curator of the Pratt Sculpture Park, which was recognized as one of the 10 best college and university campus art collections in the country by Public Art Review in 2006. The composite image appeared on the cover of the Pratt Sculpture Park catalog.
Here’s the caption that appears under my piece on the Pratt Sculpture Park’s website: “Phyllis Baker Hammond has explored the possibilities of laser cutting to create lace-like dimensional aluminum panels.”
The seeds were planted early. My first working space was a closet. To my five year old eyes it seemed large. I had a shelf-type table across the back of the closet that I used as a desk. There was an overhead light. I did my first drawings from memory, drawings I thought were terrible and distorted compared to what people really looked like. I abandoned that mode of work, copied comic strips and cartoons.
When I was in second grade mom sent me to oil-painting lessons on Saturdays. The teacher put emphasis on how to copy paintings by making a grid.
My mother sent me with pictures to copy: a photo of my grandfather, someone else’s drawing of a Scottie dog like the one we owned.
I liked to draw small doodles, imagining land contours, ends connecting to the water edges like maps. I made carvings in ivory soap, and figures I built in snow thrilled the neighbors. A pastel drawing of a fish made in 5th grade was stolen by a classmate, which I took as a symbol of success.
In the 6th grade I journeyed to the Boston Museum on Saturdays, by myself, for a drawing class. It was a one hour train ride to Bay Back station, then two subway changes to reach Huntington Avenue. Miles from home, I sat looking at plaster statues of classical Roman or Greek figures in a huge freezing room. Trying every week to make my pencil replicate what I was seeing, I felt like a speck overwhelmed by the space and scale.