November 2014

Susan and Jeff Wise: An Exhibition of Modern Jewelry

Susan and Jeff WiseSusan and Jeff Wise collaborate not only as man and wife, but to make jewelry together. The couple is known for cutting their own sculptural gemstones and integrating them into bold designs—their work has been collected by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. On the occasion of their show, An Exhibition of Modern Jewelry, at Patina Gallery, I had the chance to ask them a few questions.

Olivia Shih: This is your first gallery exhibition in two years. Did you take a hiatus from gallery exhibitions, or does it take this long to prepare for a show? Why exhibit now?

Susan and Jeff Wise: We show in galleries on a regular basis, but this is an unusually large collection for us, and it’s especially exciting to have it featured in a gallery as beautifully curated as Patina. We have a very long history with Santa Fe—in Jeff’s case, going back to his teens in the 60s, when the family would take road trips from their home in Denver in a 1948 Chrysler Town & Country Woodie. In those days, there were lots of highly skilled Navajo and Pueblo silversmiths selling their work under the portico of the governor’s palace, where Jeff bought turquoise heishi beads.     

We currently are able to produce around 60 pieces a year, and we’ll have around 80 pieces at Patina, so this show represents a significant amount of bench time. Many of the pieces had been put aside as our own retrospective collection, and we don’t normally show them or offer them for sale—but together, Allison and Ivan (Patina’s owners) can be most persuasive. Anything for art. The idea for this show started when Allison came up to Durango and stayed with us while she judged awards for a show at the Durango Art Center, which Susan and I had done the initial jurying for.


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In Memory of Margaret West

Portrait of Margaret West Died Blackheath, New South Wales, Australia, 2014 Margaret West, jeweler and poet, lived a life rich beyond most imaginations. And it was on her own terms, through intellectual energy, fierce love of beauty, and compassion. From what was originally a wide-ranging creative project, Margaret came to value compression, reduction, the exquisite

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Across the Ditch

Damian Skinner and Kevin Murray, Place and Adornment: A History of Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand. Auckland: David Bateman Ltd, 2014. ISBN: 0824846877    After seven years of collaborative research, Place and Adornment: A History of Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand is now published, written by Damian Skinner from Aotearoa New

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Benedikt Fischer

Benedikt FischerBenedikt Fischer is an Austrian jeweler who attended the technical School for Arts and Craft in Steyr, Austria, before taking a leap into art jewelry at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, where he studied under Manon van Kouswijk and Suska Mackert. After Rietveld, he worked as a professor’s assistant at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle, Germany. Fischer is known for his idiosyncratic pairing of traditional metal engraving with brightly colored plastic in highly original forms. His work is currently on exhibit at Jewelers’Werk. He is also one of five finalists for the 2014 Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award.

Olivia Shih: Could you talk about your time at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie? How has it influenced the way you think or work?

Benedikt Fischer: Before I came to study at the Rietveld, I only had a technical background, so I was not really familiar with the concept of so-called art jewelry. I felt comfortable there from the very first day, although it was of course not always easy, especially in the beginning. I think I came at the right time—there were really inspiring people, and the teachers, Manon van Kouswijk and Suska Mackert, were wonderful. They put a lot of thought into the program and showed us their love for the field and interesting ways of working. In short, it was perfect. The Rietveld is a powerhouse for ideas and creativity. 


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Wear It Loud: Curated by Platforma (Bella Neyman and Ruta Reifen)

Ruta Reifen and Bella NeymanManhattan finally has a gallery space for contemporary jewelry. It is called R|R Gallery and is housed in a storefront space at the intersection of New York City’s fashionable Meatpacking District and the West Village. The space is connected to, but separate from, the Gansevoort Street store and workshop of Reinstein/Ross, Goldsmiths. This new space is dedicated to exhibiting progressive work in studio art jewelry, as well as fine arts related to jewelry, precious stones, and precious metals. The owners—Andrew Schloss and Nancy Bloom—asked Bella Neyman and Ruta Reifen of Platforma to curate their first show. Platforma chose to relate the show to Fashion Week in New York, and they hoped that the work in Wear It Loud would speak to the fashionistas in town.

Susan Cummins: Tell us something about this new gallery space called R|R Gallery in New York. Do we finally have a contemporary jewelry gallery in the big city?

Bella Neyman: Yes! This is very exciting news. R|R Gallery, also known as the Gallery at Reinstein/Ross, is located at 30 Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. The name Reinstein/Ross may be familiar to many AJF readers because it is a New York institution. Susan Reinstein and Brian Ross opened the store in 1985. Susan designed the jewelry and Brian sourced the stones. Every piece was made in their Madison Avenue shop. Nancy Bloom and Andrew Schloss have since taken over the store, but have stayed true to Susan’s designs and also to the original owners’ core value: All of the jewelry is still made in New York City. The store has two locations, one at 29 East 73rd Street and the other one now on Gansevoort Street (until recently their downtown location was on Prince Street). Next year marks the company’s thirtieth anniversary and as they look to the future, the owners have chosen to open an art jewelry gallery. This stems from having employed many talented goldsmiths, who are alumni from some of the top metalsmithing programs in the country, so they are very familiar with the field and believe in it. The field is expanding and gaining worldwide recognition, and they want to be a part of this. 


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Mill Valley, California, November 10, 2014—Art Jewelry Forum (AJF) is pleased to announce the five finalists for the 2014 AJF Artist Award for emerging artists. One winner will be selected from this short list and announced in December 2014. Applications were received from 123 artists in 27 countries.  Criteria used in the judging were originality,


40 Years of New Zealand Jewelry

FingersFingers Gallery in New Zealand is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an exhibition at Objectspace, an exhibition space in Auckland both publicly and privately funded. Over the years, Fingers Gallery has witnessed and participated in the development of New Zealand jewelry. Finn McCahon-Jones, the curator of the exhibition, gives us its history.

Susan Cummins: Finn, please tell us who you are and why Objectspace is having a show about the gallery Fingers.

Finn McCahon-Jones: I come from a family of makers and observers, and for the past decade have worked at Auckland Museum, primarily with the decorative art and design collection. I am currently employed as a curator working on renewals of the permanent galleries. During this time I have also been involved with not-for-profit arts organizations and artist-run spaces.

In November this year, Fingers turns 40, making it one of the oldest still-running jewelry galleries in the world. It is also the oldest still-running craft gallery in Aotearoa New Zealand. The show at Objectspace will be an important one for jewelry audiences, as it will bring together largely unseen works from private collections, and provide an overview of jewelry history in this country, centered around Fingers.


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Digital Artisans: The Future of Design and Creation

Alba Cappellieri Laura Rysman: Do you make a distinction between designers who consider themselves artists and those who work in a commercial setting? What is the difference for you between jewelry designers/artists who fabricate their work—studio jewelers—and those who have work produced, or even mass-produced? Alba Cappellieri: Like Bruno Munari said, artists work for themselves

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