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It Was a Very Busy Year at AJF

Glancing Back at 2021

By United States

The year is coming to a close. As we begin planning for next year’s publishing, it’s worth taking a look back at what AJF produced in 2021. Among the 83 articles we published over the last 52 weeks, we posted

  • 12 On Offers
  • 19 Reports
  • 17 interviews
  • 8 reviews
  • 5 remembrances
  • 9 photo essays
  • 11 articles that landed outside of the above categories
  • 17 AJF Lives
  • 22 new submissions to AJF’s PDF Library

We also published a couple press releases. Let’s look at some highlights…

Rebekah Frank started the year off with an article called The Excitement of Discovery: A Path to Becoming a Collector of Art Jewelry. Read it here: Work by (left to right, top to bottom) Roberta and David Williamson, Judith Hoyt, Brooke Marks-Swanson, Lisa & Scott Cylinder, and Wendy McAllister, from a private collection, photo: Rebekah Frank

AJF Live kept on roaring
We began AJF Live in 2020, when the pandemic started. In 2021, we continued to invite the public to visit with artists and gallerists from around the world. These events are free. We record them all.  This year, we uploaded 17 recordings of our AJF Live events. (We also produced three ticketed events.)

Photo essays
In 2020 we published four photo essays. Our metrics show that these are a reader favorite. They’re second only to the monthly On Offer article. (On Offer showcases new jewelry from our member galleries.) Because of their popularity, in 2021 we more than doubled the number of photo essays. We published a total of nine. Be on the lookout for new ones in 2022.

Jim Bové submitted photos he took at NYCJW21 for a super-informative photo essay

We worked with a dozen fresh writers
We welcomed these contributors, new to AJF:

  • Curator LaMar Gayles, Jr., one of the writers new to AJF in 2021, photo courtesy of LaMar Gayles, Jr.

    Katharina Kielmann interviewed the Austrian artist Brigitte Lang

  • Steven KP reviewed Hearts & Flowers, which was shown at AJF member gallery Brooklyn Metal Works
  • Denise Lassaw contributed a history about the bosom sculptures  her father, Ibram Lassaw, started making in 1951. You can read that here
  • Kayleigh Perkov reviewed the book In Flux. She emphasized its value for future scholarship of American jewelry artists of the 1960s and 70s
  • Andrea Wagner wrote a moving remembrance of Valeria Vallarta Siemelink
  • Kimber Wiegand reviewed the Betty Cooke exhibition in Maryland. She wrote with such sophistication that no one would ever guess this was the first review she had ever written!
Steven KP reviewed Hearts & Flowers. Exhibition view, Hearts + Flowers, curated by Jessica Andersen and Leslie Shershow, In the Gallery at Brooklyn Metal Works, photo courtesy Brooklyn Metal Works

Established writers continued to contribute
Some of our longstanding and more prolific writers from over the years produced multiple articles for us in 2021. They included

Carrie Yodanis wrote about the artist Karin Jones in an article titled Are Some Ideas Too Big for Jewelry? Read it here: Karin Jones, Hair Brooches, 2012–2013, stainless steel, brass, gold plate, synthetic hair, dimensions variable, photo: Kristy Depper

We also published some articles from writers who hadn’t contributed articles to AJF in a while. It was good to work with them again!

Thank you to everyone who added to the scholarship around art jewelry this year!

Vicki Mason interviewed Lisa Waup, shown here standing with her work Continuity of Protection 1, 2019, screen printed on handmade paper, ochre, cotton thread, printed at Spacecraft. Waup wears Lisa Waup x VERNER, Trench Coat, Homeward Boundaries, 2017. Photographed at Carry Me Softly, Linden New Art, Melbourne 2019, photo: Baluk Arts, Theresa Harrison

We published three series in 2021

  • Indigenous &, by matt lambert. This interview series with Indigenous artists will continue in 2022. (The interview with Brian Fleetwood is here. The one with Teresa Faris is here.)
  • Jewelry||Adjacent, by Rebekah Frank. Each article explores an artist who uses material, techniques, or themes related to jewelry practices. Look for more of those next year. (Frank wrote about Demetri Broxton, Angela Hennessy, and Hollis Chitto.)
  • Our Favorite Jewelry. Many AJF members sent in images of … well, the title says it all: their favorite jewelry. There was only one criteria. The work had to be made by someone else. These published as photo essays.
Rebekah Frank’s first Jewelry||Adjacent article focused on Demetri Broxton, who uses beadwork to embellish boxing gloves. He covers their surfaces with cowrie shells and glass beads. Broxton uses the cultural histories of these materials to draw parallels between history and current culture, positioning his work in the imaginary divide between craft and fine art. Demetri Broxton, The Power, 2018, Everlast boxing gloves, cowrie shells, Japanese seed beads, Czech seed beads, mirrors, nylon thread, stainless steel chain and hardware, 121.9 x 71.1 x 20.3 cm, photo: Patricia Sweetow Gallery

Some important members of our field died this year. It was important to honor their lives and accomplishments. The remembrances we published saluted

Matthew Kangas wrote a remembrance of the late Nancy Worden. Nancy Worden, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, 2018, silver, glass, wool, plastic, nylon, fur, leather, feathers, steel, 635 x 457 x 191 mm, Nancy Worden Estate, photo: Rex Rystedt

We split the Report in two
Mid-year, Carrie Yodanis volunteered to assist in collecting news. We also began asking members to give recommendations for shows, films, books, etc. As a resuly, the monthly Report became so content-rich that it got too long. To make it more digestible, we removed the exhibition listings and launched a dedicated page for exhibitions. We also started publishing the Report twice a month.

We updated the look of the website
Behind the scenes, we worked to migrate our website from Drupal to WordPress. You may have noticed more legible fonts in the body of the articles we published, as well as in the photo captions. We also made the fonts larger.

matt lambert’s first interview for the Indigenous & series was with Brian Fleetwood, who was also the featured guest of an AJF Live. Brian Fleetwood, Collum Rubrum, 2018, raw silk noil, bamboo cocktail forks, rubber, photo courtesy of the artist

The Library continued to expand
Twenty-two new articles were uploaded to AJF’s digital Library. Some highlights include

  • The entire book Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective!
  • The catalog for the 2020 exhibition Danish Jewelry Box
  • The catalog for the Mint Museum’s Body Embellishment exhibition, from 2015
  • The catalog for the 2020 Werke und Tage/Works and Days exhibition
  • The catalog for AJF member Ariel Lavian’s Depths of Heaven exhibition
  • AJF member Karin van Paassen submitted several items: Earrings of the Naga, in both English and Dutch, and a booklet called My Jewel that she produced during COVID shutdowns. It contains texts and images from 100 people about a piece of jewelry with a story.
  • Several items related to Kadri Mälk’s work—a review of her book Hunt:; the brochure for the exhibition Bulldog; and several reviews of that exhibition, one by Reet Varblane and another by Heie Marie Treier.
  • The exhibition brochure for Quebec artist Gabrielle Desmarais’s first solo exhibition, Les Espaces-Satellites, held at AJF member Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h from June 10–July 10, 2021.
  • The catalog for the Pilosities exhibition that took place at AJF member Galeria Tereza Seabra. It featured work by Lore Langendries, Marie Masson, and Carla Castiajo.
  • The Library also contains PDFs of work by our Maker members

AJF’s Library supports the jewelry community by providing online access to jewelry scholarship that would otherwise be difficult to find. Submit your materials here to share with current and future researchers.

A spread from the book Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, edited by Damian Skinner. These pages are drawn from the chapter named East Asia, written by Chang Dong-kwang

We appreciate everyone who writes for AJF and contributes to the organization—we couldn’t do it without you! AJF is always looking for article submissions and writers, so please submit your proposals or share any of your ideas for articles.

It’s such a pleasure to produce this programming for you. If you enjoy it and aren’t already a member of our organization, please consider joining AJF. (See the benefits of membership here.) Prefer to make a one-time donation? Go here.

Next year promises more fascinating material. Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2022 that’s replete with jewelry!


  • Nathalie Mornu

    Nathalie Mornu has edited nonfiction and DIY books since 2003; she is particularly passionate about titles specializing in jewelry and crafts. After studying jewelry fabrication and furniture-making for five years at the Appalachian Center for Craft, she changed course altogether and pursued a degree in journalism. Nathalie then spent a dozen years in the editorial department at Lark Books. In her tenure there, she worked with former Art Jewelry Forum editor Damian Skinner to copy edit Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective. Nathalie began serving as AJF’s proofreader in June 2014 and subsequently branched out to copy editing and content management for the organization.

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