Texts and Pretexts

By France

The contemporary jewelry field is much less resilient to the use of words and texts than its craft heritage would have us believe. Words help us define our practice and describe (or dress up) our things. In fact, words are what we use to help these things graduate to the status of cultural goods. They are a good tool to both pry out what is special about what we do and to state who we are to the wider public.

In the course of my dual career as a maker and theorist, I have found that I often went further and used writing as a general testing (and crashing) area. I research in books and develop on notepads, which is precisely what this lecture is about—how exactly does one move between the printed page and the bench? Can one be both a maker and a commentator? How much time can I spend at my desk before someone calls the craft police?

To purchase Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, please visit the AJF Bookstore.

Sponsored by the San Diego State University and Art Jewelry Forum.


  • Benjamin Lignel

    An art historian (BA) and furniture designer (MA) by training, Benjamin Lignel veered toward jewelry design just after earning his master's degree. Lignel describes himself as a designer, writer, and curator. In 2007, he co-founded la garantie, association pour le bijou, a French association with a mission to study and promote jewelry. He became a member of Think Tank, a European Initiative for the Applied Arts, in 2009, and was a guest teacher at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Nuremberg, Germany) in 2013. Lignel was appointed editor of Art Jewelry Forum in January of the same year. In 2015, he edited the first book-length study of jewelry exhibition-making, "Shows and Tales." 

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