August 2014

SNAG 2014 Lectures

These podcasts are provided to you through the joint efforts of SNAG and AJF. There are eight lectures in all, recorded during the 2014 SNAG Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. At this time, you can listen to Tanya Herrod give the keynote address, followed by Sofia Björkman of Platina Galerie, art historian Jenni Sorkin, and

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Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewelry

Gallery Funaki recently launched the inaugural Mari Funaki Award for Contemporary Jewelry to honor and recognize Mari Funaki, a unique and passionate advocate for contemporary jewelry in Australia. This award aims to celebrate Mari’s legacy by recognizing the skills and talent of jewelers, both local and overseas, and by providing a platform for outstanding new work to be shown in Australia. Artists worldwide, at any stage of their practice, were invited to apply for the award; over 530 entries from more than 35 countries were received. The work of 31 finalists was selected and is currently on exhibit at Gallery Funaki from August 13September 13, 2014.

The winner of the established artist category is Kiko Gianocca, from Switzerland, with a series of three necklaces collectively titled Veneer. His work has been exhibited internationally since 2003 and he is currently represented by Gallery Funaki.

In the emerging artist category, two winners were selected: Patrícia Domingues, from Portugal, with her pendant from the Duality series, and Polish artist Sara Gackowska for her brooch, Membrane, from the Methamorphosis series. In addition, two commendations were given, the first to Inari Kiuru, a Melbourne artist, for her two brooches from the Evolution series, and Jiro Kamata, based in Germany, for his Spiegel necklace.

The recent announcement of winners provided an opportunity to speak with gallery director Katie Scott about the award and her vision for the gallery, as well as hear from the three winners.

Gallery Funaki

Bonnie Levine: Mari Funaki was an important visionary and maker in the world of contemporary jewelry, particularly in Melbourne. Can you tell us about her and her legacy?


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Silke Spitzer: Breathing

Silke SpitzerSilke Spitzer’s exhibition Breathing was recently on display at Ornamentum Gallery in Hudson, New York, from July 12 through August 10. In this interview, Silke describes the relationships between her life and work, and her materials and surroundings. 

Missy Graff: How did you become interested in making jewelry? Please describe your background.

Silke Spitzer: Growing up as the daughter of an arts, music, and sports teacher, I cannot remember a time when I was not creating or making something. I was always sitting or kneeling barefoot on the ground, carving, drawing, sewing, painting, cutting, scribbling, collecting, adding, and combining the things that surrounded me. To me, creating and living have always seemed to be the same. The beauty of nature, light, smell, the deepness of a voice, a thought or special sound, have always touched me. 

Growing up, I always considered creating a living by making with my own hands to be my dream job and life’s goal. Et voilà! I feel the same way today.

Why jewelry? Well, I guess it just happened. I grew up with the desire to create. Making jewelry was just one option I decided to explore. The tools seemed interesting and the scale seemed manageable. I enjoy the intimacy of making a piece all alone, by myself from the very beginning to the very end. I am very interested in the solitude that working on a small scale offers, a familiar scale, my body’s scale, a scale that is very much my soul’s size. 


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Jorge Manilla: Beyond the Limits

Jorge ManillaIn the past few years, Jorge Manilla has created a personal style of work that is the result of his Mexican background and conceptual education in Europe. In his work, Manilla often manipulates a wide array of materials to make sense of the intricate and painful relationship people have with religion. Currently, he is simultaneously working as a guest teacher, an artist, and a PhD student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp. On the occasion of his show, called Beyond the Limits, at Galerie Ra in Amsterdam, I had a chance to ask him a few questions.

Olivia Shih: You first received technical jewelry training at the school of Design and Crafts (Mexican Institute of Fine Arts) in Mexico before enrolling at St Lucas University College of Art and Design Antwerp in Belgium for your master’s degree. How did this transition influence your work? 

Jorge Manilla: My education in Mexico opened a world of possibilities. Those years taught me that a piece of classical jewelry acquires its value by the materials and techniques used, as well as by its aesthetic and wearability. When I learned how to make jewelry I started selling it straight away, but I often asked myself, why did I do it? Who did I do it for?
Soon after that, I decided to move to Belgium. A year of sculpture at the Academy of Art in Ghent was the perfect bridge to start my contemporary jewelry education. During that year, I started to think more deeply about ideas, concepts, and processes.

At St Lucas, I learned to make jewelry by not making jewelry. During that time I forced myself not to think about the portability of the piece; I stopped using precious metals, which I think was one of the most difficult things to do.

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Throwing Stones in Glass Houses: On Criticism, Art History and Critical Discourse

Criticism is a kind of art history done about new or recent objects. It involves judgment, but without the benefit of hindsight. Criticism is different to art history, which isn’t so concerned with judgment. Instead, art history explores the relationship of objects with each other, with history and with various aspects of society. Art history

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Tilling Time/Telling Time: Curated by Karen Lorene

Karen LoreneTilling Time/Telling Time is the latest jewelry exhibition held at the Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery. The exhibition is in conjunction with the launch of Karen Lorene’s newest novel of the same name. The show features jewelry artists Kit Carson, Jude Clarke, Kevin Crane, Marita Dingus, Robert Ebendorf, Cynthia Toops, Roberta and David Williamson, Deb Karash, and Anne Fischer. Karen loves words and jewelry separately and together, but always with a story in mind.

Susan Cummins: Karen, you have done a number of shows relating words and jewelry, such as Louder than Words, Woman Working Words, and your series of publications called Signs of Life. Now you have published your own novel called Tilling Time/Telling Time. Can you tell us what it is about?

Karen Lorene: The novel is based on a grandfather I never saw, never met. I knew only one thing about this man: he ran away with the neighbor lady. And so begins a made-up tale about a granddaughter and a grandmother, each telling her story about falling in love, marrying, and then how life, as life is wont to do, comes along and hits each upside the head and makes each a strong, independent woman.

Why did you decide to write this particular story?

Karen Lorene: Half of my life is writing. Ideas appear, and then words, and then, strangely enough, a novel. Creating a world, populating it, following where characters lead is like indulging in the finest chocolate, the finest meal.


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