April 2013

Ken Bova

Ken Bova, Untitled, 2012, earrings, sterling silver, 23-karat gold leaf, coral, jasper, turquoise, pearl, wood, acrylic, mixed pigment, paper, approximately 50.8 mm long, photo: artist Susan Cummins: Ken, can you tell me the story of how you became a jeweler? Ken Bova: Interestingly (at least to me anyway) while in high school I bought a […]

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Ken Bova

Ken Bova Gravers Lane Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is showing the work of Montana-born jeweler Ken Bova. Ken is currently a professor at the very active East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. This exhibition gave me a chance to find out a bit more about Ken and his work as a jeweler, an enamellist, and unexpectedly as it turns out, a reader.

Susan Cummins: Ken, can you tell me the story of how you became a jeweler?

Ken Bova: Interestingly (at least to me anyway) while in high school I bought a set of jewelry tools (pliers, a saw frame and a few hammers). I tried to teach myself how to make silver rings and bangle bracelets (without much success I might add) but abandoned it after entering college to study art.  The stage was set before university, but I just needed the right nudge and opportunity.

I was working on my BFA with a major in painting and drawing when a professor hired me to help hang wallboard in a studio he was building. Part of this studio was dedicated to a small jewelry making space. In exchange for the help,

I was paid in part with six weeks of jewelry casting lessons. I was hooked. I was only a semester away from getting my degree when I decided that this was it—THE discipline I wanted to pursue as an artist. Because the school had no program in metals, I finished the degree in painting and then transferred to the University of Houston. I studied for a year of post-baccalaureate work with Val Link and Sandie Zilker before applying to graduate schools. 

I was convinced I wanted to be a smith and concentrated on raising and forming processes. In graduate school, however, I found myself inexplicably drawn to the wearable—perhaps because of its intimate scale or maybe because working with the brooch format was comfortable and echoed my experience in painting. In any case, I gravitated towards jewelry, and there I’ve stayed.

By the way, I still have the very first piece of jewelry I cast, a sterling silver and tumbled jade stone ring.

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Beginning Middle Endless

Exhibition view, Beginning Middle Endless, Brant Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, photo: Celine Browning Beginning Middle Endless was born out of a desire to forge a connection between MassArt and Alchimia. Heather White, curator of the show and professor of the MassArt participants, collected the necklace halves from 40 students on two

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Barbara Heinrich: Ribbons of Gold

Barbara Heinrich is a delightful example of one of the best production studio jewelers working in America today. Her current show at de novo in Palo Alto, California, gives us an occasion to ask her a few questions about her background and her attitude toward making jewelry. Barbara’s ability to turn a dilemma into an opportunity is one of her great strengths, and the energy she brings into the studio each day can’t be ignored as a key to her success.

Susan Cummins: Barbara, what is your background, and how did you decide to become a jeweler?

Barbara Heinrich: I grew up on a vineyard in Germany and always made jewelry from the time I was little. When it was time to decide on a field of study, I thought I should study something “harder,” such as architecture or product design, but my father convinced me to pursue what was most natural to me, making jewelry.

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Jamie Bennett: Jewelry and Drawings

Jamie Bennett Starting in May, American jeweler Jamie Bennett has a delightful show at Antonella Villanova contemporary jewelry and design gallery in Florence, Italy. It is an unexpected place for Jamie to exhibit his enamels given the rarity of Americans showing in European galleries. I applaud both Antonella and Jamie for making it work. Jamie has answered my numerous questions with thoughtfulness, and although I have known him for many years, I learned a lot from this interview. Enjoy.

Susan Cummins: Jamie, can you tell me the story of how you became a jeweler?

Jamie Bennett: Once I finished undergraduate school with a business degree from The University of Georgia, I began taking art classes there. I was thrilled with the freedom I sampled by taking painting, ceramics, sculpture, and jewelry. Though I had only taken one class in jewelry, the intimacy, the particular type of making, and these objects all appealed to me. And I realized I already had a connection, which perhaps instigated my interest.

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Mill Valley, California, USA—Art Jewelry Forum (AJF) is accepting applications for the 2013 Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award for an emerging jewelry artist. This is the 14th year the organization is awarding a cash prize to a contemporary artist. The amount of the 2013 award is $7500. The purpose of the Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award for an emerging jeweler is to acknowledge promise, innovation, and individuality in a jeweler’s work and to help advance her career.

Jurors selecting this year’s prizewinner are: 2012 Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award winner Noon Passama; Lindsay Pollock, Editor in Chief of Art in America and a collector of art jewelry; and Ruudt Peters, illustrious vanguard jeweler and professor at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School, Florence, Italy.

Noon Passama   Lindsay Pollack, Editor in Chief of Art in America    Ruudt Peters

The Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award competition is open to makers of wearable art jewelry who have completed their academic or professional training at least one year but not more than six years prior to the submission date of the AJF Award application. Applicants must not have had a solo exhibition at a commercial gallery or a museum or have one scheduled. All artwork submitted must have been unsupervised; work from BFA or MFA shows may NOT be submitted.

Award Schedule

• April 1, 2013 Applications may be submitted at www.callforentry.org.

• June 30, 2013 Deadline for application entry.

• September 2013 The winner of this year’s competition and $7500 cash award is announced.

Learn more about the Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award and find complete application guidelines on the website.

Art Jewelry Forum is a nonprofit organization spreading awareness, encouraging appreciation, and expanding insight of art jewelry worldwide since 1997. It is a curious, informed, and diverse community passionately advocating for art jewelry through an ambitious agenda of education, conversation, and support. The Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award was established in 1999. Its first recipient, Yeon-Mi Keong, received the award at the Society of North American Goldsmiths conference in 2000.



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