Women In Art

Ube, Japan Museum Installation


Article on the exhibition in Ube newspaper.


Hammond EH Star Article1

An article in the East Hampton Star on the exhibition in Japan.


Phyllis Hammond with winning sculpture, “Redefining Space” in Ube, Japan.

Ube, Japan Museum Installation

Mr Sasaki and Andrea

Akira Sasaki and his daughter Andrea Sasaki with my sculpture in process. Both are architects. They were immensely helpful during the fabrication of my sculpture.

1.Redefining Space Steel Steel Paint H10ftx 44FT 2009 - $50,000

“Redefining Space” on permanent display in the Tokaiwa Park Sculpture Garden.



In 2009 I won an award in the Ube Tokiwa Museum’s 23rd International Biennale sculpture competition.

Ube was one of the first Japanese cities bombed in WWII. It had been the site of a large chemical plant. The city was totally demolished, and a lake was created where the chemical plant had been. During the rehabilitation period after WWII, the citizens of Ube created a campaign to beautify the area with greenery and flowers. The Tokiwa Museum was opened in 1961. A huge sculpture park around the lake was eventually created, and in 1963 the first Biennale was held.  Originally known as the “Ube Exhibition of Outdoor Sculpture”, it was the very first large-scale sculpture exhibition ever held in Japan.

The award I received included travel costs,  the cost of fabricating the sculpture,  and a cash prize.  I had built a 15″ aluminum model of the sculpture and traveled to Ube in 2009 to oversee the construction of the full scale piece in steel, which is 12′ x 9′ x 9′. When I arrived, I was greeted with polite shock by the museum officials, who had assumed until they set eyes on me that I was male. In the group of 39 artists selected for the show, I was the only woman. I later learned that among the many hundreds of artists included in the whole 23 year history of the show, I was one of exactly three women.


March 25th, 2015|Current Post, Ube Museum Installation, Women In Art|

Southampton Press article, 12/8/2014


This is an article about me that appeared on December 8, 2014 in the Southampton Press, written by Kelly Ann Smith as part of her “Bonac Community Notes” series.


Phyllis Baker Hammond’s three miniature poodles, Lucy, Clio, and Tony, woke up from a nap on their shared dog bed when I knocked on a sliding glass door leading into her living room, which overlooks Accabonac Harbor. I was drawn there by her art studio which sits in front of the house and showcases her dramatically bent sculptures in powder-coated colors like neon green, red, orange, bright white and silver.

Ms. Hammond has had a productive career in her 84 years, moving effortlessly from clay to metal. She begins each work with a fanciful doodle and then transfers the refined drawing to “the machine”, a computerized water jet that cuts the design from sheet metal.

She uses both the positive and the negative cutouts in her artwork, creating lacy panels and playful three-dimensional works.

A drawing she was working on the previous night was deemed “a failure”, but it didn’t seem to faze her. “The whole thing is play”, she said.

Make no mistake, her so-called “doodles” take a precise skill and can be a challenge to create. Each complicated sketch needs an entrance and an exit.

Her background, drawing mechanical schematics at Raytheon as a young adult in Massachusetts, has helped her understand how to prepare her drawings for the machine. There are many machines in her studio, and even scattered around the yard: a wax-melting machine, a clay-making machine, a steel-cutting machine, a steel-bending machine, and a small water jet machine.

Currently, Ms. Hammond is working on a commission of four pieces for the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York City, which will use a heavier steel than she has used in the past. As her artwork expands in scale, larger machinery in Commack foundries do the bulk of the work.

Once the sketches have come to life in 3-D form, she still plays with them in her studio, adding smaller contrasting pieces, LED lights, or a moving base.

East Hampton resident, artist and founder of Play Art, Ernst Lurker, is one of her trusted confidants. “He keeps wanting me to make moving things,” she said, “I would love to make more movement.”

Ms. Hammond began her career in Boston at the Museum School. “As a child, I was a very poor student,” she said, “I needed more physical work than sitting at a desk all day.”

Thankfully, her teachers were intuitive enough to send her to the Boston Museum, where she took to drawing classical Greek statues, which later greatly influenced her work.

She married at 18 years old, had a daughter and divorced at 21. In addition to attending art school, she was the first American woman to study at Kyoto City College of Fine Arts in Japan. As if that weren’t enough, she also earned an education degree from Tufts and taught art “everyplace”, from kindergarten to graduate school, in two year increments.

“I always came back to my work”, she said.

The Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, provided her with a safe haven whenever she felt she needed to get back on track. Her work originally consisted of ceramic containers. Soon people entered her containers and later the people seemed to have an urge to escape.

“I realized it was me in the containers”, she said, “I didn’t know who I was.”

She compares her earlier work to Giacometti. “The loneliness is so contained,” she said, “How do I get out of the container?”

One of her most famous works of 1980, “Ancient Inspiration Contemporary Interpretation”, has three faces, influenced by classic statues, peering out of a ceramic cylinder that seems to be peeling away. “I’m in there too,” she said, “I’m the third face”.

Perhaps she felt trapped as a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a student, but she used her artistic path to freedom.

“It all has a history,” she said, “Everything is connected to when you are young. It’s amazing. It’s all reflected in the work.”

The artist waited a long time to build her dream studio. “I was afraid,” she said.

Three years ago, the fear vanished and she shingled a pre-fab building “so it fit in the neighborhood” and added four glass garage doors. In the summer it’s like working outside and in the winter, plenty of light still pours in. Not only that, the studio has attracted other artists, such as the sculptor Bill King, and she thrives on the community it has created.

“Don’t worry about exhibiting,” Mr. King told her, “Just do your work.”

At 38, she married Dr. Aldo Perotto, who was visiting his family in Argentina during my visit. Before the studio was built, they spent the winters in Argentina, but they sold their South American home and now she stays put.

“Aldo is lonely to see his family,” she told me, “He’s learned to Skype.”

Prior to buying the land on Accabonac, she and her husband had a home in upstate New York, as well as on Neck Path but moved to the three-acre property 15 years ago.

Ideally, she would like the town to buy the property and use it as a community art center where classes could be taught.

“I envision this land being public,” she said walking amongst the artwork in the yard.

She may have gotten the idea from her friend, textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, who created LongHouse reserve in East Hampton, where she worked for two years. Charles Forberg, the architect who designed LongHouse also designed Ms. Hammond’s house and Mr. Larsen helped with the interiors, creating sliding wall dividers for the kitchen.

Her old studio is being used being used by Penelope Dwyer, the development director of the Parrish Art Museum, who is helping the artist organize her office, as well as her life’s work in return. Ms. Dwyer has also resurrected Ms. Hammond’s old kiln for her own daughter, who is preparing for a Master of Fine Arts degree.

“Just when I was about to throw it away, this young girl comes along,” she said, admiring the young woman’s creations. “And to be so excited about what you are doing,” she said, “It’s all play.”

Ms. Hammond will show at the Chase Edwards Gallery in Bridgehampton in April. In the meantime, check out her work at www.phyllishammondsculpture.com.


November 18th, 2014|Current Sculptures, Women In Art|

My Earliest Memories of Art

UnfurlingBlkThe 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.