Course Description

This course is meant to be a space for you to examine and deepen your relationship to the field and your own practice through readings, discussions, and presentations.  The readings are meant to expand your perspective on the field of jewelry and metalsmithing, to define its particularities and concerns in relation to the discourses of the contemporary art world.

Together we will explore a series of seminal theoretical texts, seeking ways to relate them to our own practice.  Through these texts we will encounter a series of themes and historical perspectives that are crucial to the field of jewelry, while also delving into fields and areas of inquiry, that have not commonly been related to our field, but perhaps should or could be.  Our aim is to get a historical and interdisciplinary perspective on where we are as artists/makers today, how we got here and where we could go from here. The course aims to bring up critical questions on why we make, whom we make for and the meaning of our practice beyond the studio and the jewelry and metals world.

This is a chance to practice your skills in connecting theory, reading and writing to your work and to build a vocabulary and ground of reference around your ideas, interests and intentions. It’s a chance to take part in an intense discourse around your field, which you might be asked to do many times in the future of your career.

The Wednesday meetings will adopt the form of a reading/talking circle. Your role in the group is important and the success of our conversations will be based on your participation and engagement. We will all take turns in presenting and leading the discussion and also examine what “research through practice” might mean for us, by exploring some ways of connecting theory and making. 

Dec 6, 2009

Taking a Stance for the Body!

I view the body as a pedestal; a site organically, specifically, perfectly designed to be adorned with ornament. The exquisiteness of the human form naturally makes jewelry the most communicative form of art. Although no two bodies are designed exactly the same, each person has the anatomy necessary not simply to wear jewelry, but to exhibit these ornaments to the world. As humans we possess an innate almost instinctual desire to adorn ourselves, which can be traced back to the earliest stages of human history. It is our heavenly, flawless design that allows us to display such work seamlessly. Each body part is a stage, set or adorned intentionally by the wearer, for the privileged viewer.

I see my responsibility as a jewelry maker to honor the beauty of the human form and to use it as a blank canvas in order to best present my ideas and my handiwork. The fact that this canvas is a living, breathing person allows jewelry to live in a world that is entirely different from all other art forms; it enters the world in a totally different context that is inherently structured by nature. I think not only about how jewelry will interact with the wearer but also about what type of response it will elicit from the viewer. The uniqueness in jewelry as an art form is that it celebrates the body of the wearer and the mind of the viewer in a way that is sacred! How are humans expected to comprehend the significance and value of jewelry if it is not in relation to the body? Impossible.

Although you cannot choose your body or it’s various parts, you do have the immense power and responsibility to choose how you ornament yourself. What will you wear today? How does the jewelry you wear make you feel? What does the jewelry that other people wear make you think? Everyday we act as wearer and viewer, performer and audience, gallery wall and entrant. Our own jewelry is continuously on display and yet we find ourselves the constant beholder of other peoples adorned bodies, what a gloriously overlooked extravagance! Jewelry is everywhere in a constant state of motion and flux and dually satisfying for the person wearing it and the person watching it.

All of the jewelry that I design and make is specifically intended to be worn in order to ornament the body. Each piece is made for a particular area on the body, which inherently changes the way in which the wearer and the piece negotiate a conversation with the viewer. The pieces enter into and encounter the world through a fleshy portal, the human body of the wearer, and, through a cerebral portal, the human mind of the viewer. It is most important that I continue to design and make with the body constantly and incessantly in mind. The human body is the only plausible site for jewelry. This notion is of the utmost importance to me as a maker.

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