Myra Mimlitsch-Gray: Something for the Table

Sienna Gallery, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray Sienna Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts is presenting new work by Myra Mimlitsch-Gray called Something for the Table. Myra has been a professor at State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz for the past 20 years and a master metalsmith with numerous awards to her credit, including a 2012 United States Artist Fellowship. As the gallery notes explain, “deliberately tentative, this work investigates fracture, explores gesture, and embodies utilitarian notions, suggesting a return to the table.” Myra is articulate and very funny as well as a force to be heard. She is entertaining and challenging at the same time.

Susan Cummins: You are a forceful person and seem to have been born fully formed out of the head of Vulcan, but the baby Myra must have had a journey to get to your position of great silversmith and professor. Can you tell me how that happened?

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray: Wow Susan, that’s quite the lead in! I do have a thing for hammers, and as far as force, well, that’s probably the result of having four older brothers and parents who made physical labor into educational projects—fun for the whole family. In the 70s, we built a house together, and I was assigned the task of straightening nails for reuse. It turned out I was pretty good at it. The baby Myra wanted to be a painter and set out for art school. As it so often happens, the class I wanted was full, so I got stuck in a jewelry class. The bug bit, and that was that.

But really, the crafts were in me at the start. I recall sticking pins into dolls’ ears as a child, and I was a self-taught macramé artist, which resulted in some pretty awful jewelry. Camping trips prompted a fascination with technical planning, problem solving, teamwork, and modes of efficiency that inform my working methods today.

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Rebecca Hannon: Jolie

Jewelers’Werk Galerie, Washington, DC, USA

Rebecca Hannon Rebecca Hannon’s work, at Jewelers’Werk Galerie in Washington, DC this month, is a fascinating study of the relationship of gender roles to jewelry as well as a study in scale and materiality. Her residency on a French Polynesian island allowed for some really innovative jewelry.

Susan Cummins: Can you tell the story of how you discovered that you wanted to be a jeweler?

Rebecca Hannon: I grew up in Virginia, and my high school art teacher took me to the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan to be his metalsmithing assistant one summer. He had a few art jewelry catalogues with him, and they were unlike anything I had ever seen. (Imagine, pre-Internet!) I carefully re-drew Hermann Jünger and other jewelers’ work in my journal, as I was sure I would never see such amazing things again. I made jewelry for everyone that summer and loved this connection, person to person, through an object. I went on to major in jewelry and metals at Rhode Island School of Design.

Are you teaching now?

Rebecca Hannon: I teach full time at the top Canadian art school Nova Scotia College of Art & Design, nestled in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This working port town is bursting with creative energy. I teach color, design, and 3-D courses and really love working with students who are starting their artistic journey. Their curiosity and openness fuels me. In summers, I teach workshops in New York City and beyond to keep this part of my practice active.

Ramón Puig Cuyàs: Crossing Points

Galerie Spektrum, Munich, Germany

Ramón Puig Cuyàs Galerie Spektrum in Munich, Germany, is showing the well-known jeweler and professor Ramón Puig Cuyàs from Barcelona, Spain. Ramón and his students have been an active part of the jewelry scene for many years, so it is a wonderful opportunity to hear more about his background and reasons for making.

Susan Cummins: Ramon, please tell us the story of how you became a jeweler?

Ramón Puig Cuyàs: I think I’ve always been a lucky person. When I was young, I had three ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up—devote myself to science, in particular, biology or astronomy, or like my father, who was a ship captain in the merchant marines, I wanted to be a sailor and travel to exotic lands. The third option was art. It’s a bit hard to explain why I decided against the first two options, and I have already discussed this at length in previous interviews. I feel I could have become almost any type of artist except a musician. I had no clue what jewelry was or any interest in it. My grandmother was an opera singer, my uncle was a cartoonist and illustrator, and I’ve always liked to draw and to build things with my hands. I’ve always been very curious about the world around me, and I try to understand how it works, to discover new horizons, and to always see a bit beyond the obvious.

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Réka Fekete: Balance

Galerie Ra, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Réka Fekete Galerie Ra opened in 1976 in Amsterdam and is one of the oldest galleries showing contemporary jewelry in the world. Owner Paul Derrez is a knowledgeable dealer and a jeweler himself, so when he chooses a young jeweler such as Réka Fekete for a solo show, you have to pay attention.

Susan Cummins: Réka Fekete, you are Hungarian by birth, and I understand that you moved to Amsterdam in 2004 when you were 22 years old. Do you think you brought something particularly Hungarian to your studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy?

Réka Fekete: I think it is rather my family and the environment my parents created in Hungary that most influenced my way of experiencing everything as being either fascinating, beautiful, ugly, or something else. My grandfather was a painter while my grandmother worked as a goldsmith and as a ceramicist. They had a huge studio in the basement of the house where I grew up where they worked with several other artists. The house was built in the 1930s in the Bauhaus style, and their work hung on our walls. These aspects were not particularly Hungarian, but they are what remain most present for me. I am certain that the impact of this environment left me with impressions and aesthetics I carry with me wherever I go.

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14 Jewellery Artists of Quebec

L. A. Pai Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Annegret Morf of Serafino Joailliers ContemporainsPatricia Faber of the Aaron Faber Gallery in New York curated Innovation and Craftsmanship in 2012 to raise the profile of studio artists from Quebec, Canada. The artists, enjoying the success of their combined energy, decided to expand on the original idea by making it into a travelling exhibition called 14 Jewellery Artists of Quebec. It includes Elise Bergeron, Matthieu Cheminée, Laurie Dansereau, Roland Dubuc, Gustavo Estrada, Jean-Pierre Gauvreau, Janis Kerman, Christine Larochelle, Lynn Légaré, Annegret Morf, Pierre-Yves Paquette, Claudio Pino, Antonio Serafino, and Barbara Stutman. This group approached Lisa Albuquerque at L. A. Pai Gallery in Ottawa, Ontario, and she decided to take on the show. It will continue on to Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h in Montreal in the fall.

Susan Cummins: Why did you decide to take on this show? 

Lisa Albuquerque: I initially considered the exhibition out of respect for the three artists I have represented for more than a decade: Matthieu Cheminée, Gustavo Estrada, and Janis Kerman. The collective force of the artists in a new initiative made it a worthwhile project to undertake, and it gave me the opportunity to enjoy the presence of a few of the artists I’d long been aware of but had never worked with. A travelling exhibition can stretch a dealer and can challenge one’s personal proclivities.

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Roland Dubuc

Judith Kaufmann and Lilly Fitzgerald: The Ecstasy of Gold

Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Lily FitzgeraldIvan Barnett from Patina Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has known Lilly Fitzgerald and Judith Kaufman for many years, but they have never shown in his gallery. Although both jewelers have made a habit of showing on their own at craft fairs and in private showings, Ivan convinced them to present work with him during the opening of the opera season in Santa Fe. It is an exciting time of the year for the city, and Lilly and Judith will be attending the opening at the end of June. It is an experiment on everyone’s part to see if the gallery system can work for these two independent makers. 

Susan Cummins: Can you tell me the story of how you discovered that you wanted to be a jeweler? Where did you learn to make jewelry?

Lilly Fitzgerald: While in school at the Worcester Art Museum I studied painting, but we were required to take introduction classes in all media. Metal was a material I connected to immediately. So I started making work on my own, started selling things, and then I left school and worked for myself making jewelry and selling it.

Judith KaufmanJudith Kaufman: Becoming a jeweler was not on my radar. At 16, I was kind of a shy kid and had no passion for anything in particular. My mother had a friend who made silver jewelry. She asked if she could “borrow me” for a six-week class as an experiment to see if teaching jewelry would be something she would enjoy. It was a very basic class held every Wednesday for six weeks. I learned the usual basics of piercing, soldering, filing, polishing, etc.
I really enjoyed the hands-on experience, which led me to find a bench job at a retail jewelry store followed by a job working at a wholesale manufacturing venue. On weekends, I would exhibit my work at craft shows all over New England. In 1973, I opened my own studio, located in an old dynamite factory, with 27 other artists. While there, I enjoyed building my own collection as well as taking commission work and meeting the public. The environment was ripe with talent and filled with creative energy. 


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Jose Marín

Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Jose Marín  Jose Marín  is a master jeweler from Valencia, Spain, who is having a one- person show at Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His exhibit is up until June 22, 2013, and so we tried to slip in this interview before it came down.

Susan Cummins: Can you tell me the story of how you discovered that you wanted to be a jeweler?

Jose Marín: My father was a goldsmith. In my childhood, at 10 or 12 years old, I used to play in his workshop, which was in our house. That is how he woke up my love for this craft.

Where did you learn to make jewelry?

Jose Marín: At 13 years old, after school and in the early evenings, I went to a jewelry school at the Jewelers Guild in Valencia, Spain. Here, I studied jewelry making for five years, and after that, then four years of engravings and setting.

I have had 3 teachers. My father, until his death in 2006, taught me the jewelry style of Valencia, which is a jewel of floral inspiration and very baroque. It is made with platinum and gold leaves with a very traditional technique unique to this geographical area in Spain. I also learned the art of forging solid gold from him.

Pascua Auñon l was my first boss from 1981 to 1986. He had worked for 15 years in Germany. He taught me to do rivière necklaces and bracelets and all kinds of jewelry made with wire.

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Tweex 1

vander A Gallery, Brussels, Belgium

Arthur BouilléVander A Gallery in Brussels, Belgium, has put forth a great effort to showcase student and teacher work from Belgium. The TWEEX 1 project promotes three Belgian schools that are at the forefront of contemporary art jewelry, craft, and design; three high-quality choices at a time when the French-speaking part of Belgium does not offer a complete jewelry program with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This overview highlights the masters of designer jewelry of these Belgian schools and emphasizes their undeniable talent as creative and knowledgeable transmitters for more than three generations. It seems that it is a critical time for learning the craft.

I like the way Françoise Vanderauwera, the owner of the gallery, talked about the “transfer of knowledge” as what happens between student and teacher. It has a Buddhist ring to it. This young gallery has a fascinating program, which is apparent in the recent interview with Françoise by Kellie Riggs for the “Dealer Profiles” section on the AJF website.

Also, stay tuned for TWEEX 2 from October 18–November 23, 2013 featuring Institut des Arts et Métiers, Brussels, Académie des beaux arts, Arlon, and MAD Faculty, Hasselt.

Susan Cummins: Françoise, please explain the TWEEX project and the reasons why you initiated it.

Françoise Vanderauwera: TWEEX is a project about the transfer of knowledge in Belgian contemporary art jewelry. This kind of transfer for this young artistic discipline has always existed in Belgium. But due to political and community reasons, it has not been widely promoted, and there are other reasons as well. This project shows the excellent work of our masters and their students spanning more than two generations. It aims, thanks to a complete and clear analysis, to fill the gap and to ensure our legitimate place on the international scene. This project also attempts to understand Belgian contemporary art jewelry better, where it comes from and where it goes.

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Hardware Artware

ATTA Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand

ATTA Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand, is run by Atty Tantivit and shows an international selection of jewelers with local ones. It makes for an interesting mix worth looking in on from time to time. The exhibition Hardware Artware highlights five jewelers who have been showing together for a few years and who are experimenting with presentations. They have an interesting history.

Susan Cummins: Why did you choose these particular five artists–Francisca Bauzá (Germany), Lisa Björke (Sweden), Märta Mattsson (Sweden), Deborah Rudolph (Germany), and Nina Sajet (The Netherlands)—to be in this show?

Atty Tantivit: Though I have seen some of their works before separately, I first saw them working as a group at the exhibition Pin Up during Schmuck 2012. Their pieces are different in many ways but are of equal strength in terms of concept, technical quality, and their communicative languages. There was a synergy among them. I think the way they present their works together is fresh and exciting—a group of young female artists in a field that was dominated by men a decade or so ago. Also, all five of them are from northern European countries that are key players in terms of contemporary art jewelry. It was interesting for me to see similarities and differences in their works.

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Hardware Artware, 2013, Atta Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand
Märta Mattsson
Deborah Rudolph
Nina Sajet

Kobi Bosshard: Times Revisited—A Grandfather Recalled

The National, Christchurch, New Zealand

Kobi Bosshard Recently, Kobi Bosshard was honored as part of an ongoing series at New Zealand’s Object Space called “Master of Craft.” It celebrates the achievements of outstanding New Zealand practitioners working at the highest level. The show and catalogue are the work of AJF’s former editor Damian Skinner. In the mid-twentieth century, Kobi brought his jewelry skills to New Zealand and provided a link from the old world to the new. In this show at The National in Christchurch, he is looking back at his heritage and to his grandfather Jacob Bosshard for new ideas.

Susan Cummins: You are the third generation in a line of Swiss goldsmiths. Why does this seem important for you to explore in this exhibition?

Kobi Bosshard: I like to remind myself, and others, that the world did not begin with me. That our forebears, for example my grandfather and my father, were highly skilled goldsmiths, and that I am at the very present edge of a very long tradition.

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