Between circa 1930 and 1960, artists such as Alexander Calder created one-off jewelry for fellow artists and friends. Generally using base metals and non-precious stones, he and his followers created timeless pieces meant to stand on their own as wearable art. Jewelers and wearers shared an appreciation for modernism and the desire to set themselves apart from mass-production and what they viewed as mindless repetition.
Over time, Calder’s followers branched out in their own directions. Enclaves of modernist jewelers developed in Greenwich Village, the San Francisco Bay Area, Provincetown (Massachusetts), at Cranbrook School (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan). The artists shared ideas and techniques, and explored jewelry-making both as a means of expression and an additional source of income. Some of the best known names are Harry Bertoia, Sam Kramer, Art Smith, Margaret De Patta, and Earl Pardon.
These practitioners and others adapted themes from primitive art, ethnic body adornment, surrealism, and expressionism, making little or no reference to Western jewelry traditions. While their clients may not have been familiar with particular sources, the jewelry gave them the progressive, intellectual, anti-establishment air that they sought. While the examples are rare (many are in museum collections), they serve as a fascinating contrast to traditional jewelry and continue to influence current craft jewelers.
Learn from Marilyn Fish about this interesting jewelry. No registration is necessary. Seats are on a "first come" basis. Snow date is Monday April 29th at 7PM.
Mahwah Public Library
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