Marthe Le Van is a contemporary jewelry evangelist and enabler. She owns Mora, visit at www.moracollection.com, an award-winning retail boutique for contemporary jewelry in Asheville, North Carolina, USA; volunteers on Art Jewelry Forum's Publication Committee; and offers freelance services for jewelers, publishers, and arts organizations. An internationally recognized writer and editor, Le Van has more than 50 jewelry titles to her credit. She founded and was senior editor of Lark Jewelry Books from 2002 to 2012.
Charon Kransen established Charon Kransen Arts in 1993 to promote jewelry from around the world in North America. He is a private dealer based in New York City and presents annually at various American art fairs. The educational branch of Charon Kransen Arts distributes books and exhibition catalogs on all aspects of jewelry, metal, and design.
Marthe LeVan: Please give us your “Top 10 List” for jewelry books published in 2015.
From Here and There
A full-color 2015 exhibition catalog in conjunction with another exhibition called Where It All Begins in Halle Burg Giebichenstein, Germany, where Daniel Kruger is head of the department, with 22 international jewelry artists participating.
Where It All Begins (Wo Alles Anfaengt)
This is a review of highly individual work made by the people who studied, or still study, under the direction of Daniel Kruger at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle over the past 12 years.
The catalog of the Fifth Triennial of Contemporary Jewelry in Finland, which presents a wide selection of international contemporary jewelry artists, lectures, and researchers, organized by the Finnish Jewellery Art Association.
A full-color catalog of the participants of the 2015 Joya jewelry fair in Barcelona, with individual jewelers participating, as well as students from various international schools.
A Matter of Time: Israeli Jewelry 7
A beautifully illustrated full-color book about the latest in Israeli contemporary jewelry, with many participants, as well as interesting essays.
Little Dreams in Glass and Metal: Enameling in America 1920 to the Present
A beautiful book of the first major touring exhibition organized under the auspices of the Enamel Arts Foundation, with 122 works ranging in date from 1920 to the present, made by more than 90 artists, and reflecting the remarkable diversity of modern and contemporary enameling in the USA.
10 Years of Precious Thoughts, the Voice of the Artists
A beautiful book about the city of Padua, Italy, which organizes an annual exhibition of international jewelry artists in the city where the famous jewelry school, The Padua School, is.
Shows and Tales: On Jewelry Exhibition-Making
Over the past six decades, jewelry exhibitors have played musical chairs to a very do-it-yourself score. Artists mount exhibitions in their bedrooms, museums invite amateurs to curate shows from their collections, students wearing jewelry parade the streets in white overalls. The variety of their approaches is so rarely acknowledged, or taken seriously, as is the extent to which curation transforms the viewer’s perception. Until now, there has never been a publication on exhibition-making with jewelry as its focal point.
Eclat: Masters of New Jewelry Design
What is contemporary jewelry? Where are its boundaries, be they expressive, material, emotional, or functional? What is the connection between a piece of jewelry and the human body? Some of the most influential artists in the field attempt to answer these questions through their work and their personal reflections but, as a matter of course, new ones arise in the process.
Bijoux En Jeu—Jewelry in Play
Two hundred and eighty works by 37 contemporary jewelry designers are represented in this 2014 volume, and they are part of the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts in Lausanne, Switzerland. The collection shows lots of works from the winners of the Swiss Federal Design Competition, which has encouraged young Swiss creators since 1918.
Anton Cepka: Jewellery and Objects
With around 400 pieces of jewelry and sculptures from 1963–2005, the current publication documents the fascinating world of the pioneering jewelry designer Anton Cepka, from the Slovak Republic, and with this retrospective brings his kinetic jewelry to a wider audience for the first time. Cepka’s book is incredible. Such a great overview. Many of us stand on his shoulders, simply because he was a pioneer in a country with so many limitations, and he developed the field for a lot of us, as makers, who came after him.
The work of the Estonian jewelry artist Tanel Veenre comes alive in its fullest extent in the current artist’s book. Between dramatic objects and mellow, sensual jewelry unfold thoughts, ideas, and questions, which are framed by sequences of pictures, showing the sources of his inspiration: Nordic landscapes, best friends, church vaults, erotic forms, and his own studio.
In addition, one very interesting book was the book published in Belgium called My Students, on the occasion of the departure of Daniel Weinberger as a teacher after 39 years at the Academy in Berchem. It is a combination of fashion, jewelry, and accessories. Very creative.
What are the most important characteristics of a good jewelry book?
Charon Kransen: A good book can be a good overview of an artist’s career or an overview of a certain trend in jewelry. Combined with interesting essays, not just pretty pictures. Books about critical thinking are rare; we need more. A good book is also a book that is interesting from a book point-of-view, meaning unusual design, format, creative layout, imagery, cover, paper, clear photography.
What jewelry artist or topic do you feel is overdue for major publication?
Charon Kransen: I would love to see a great publication of the artist Verena Sieber-Fuchs, who also opened the field of jewelry to a whole different dimension. I would love to see a great overview of the work of the younger American generation in our field. The last one was, I think, by Susan Grant Lewin, written about 25 years ago.
How has the market for printed books changed in the last decade? How do you see it changing in the next 10 years?
Charon Kransen: Art books and exhibition catalogs will always be popular, especially when you specialize in a particular field. As we know, most of the highly specialized small bookstores have disappeared, thanks to Amazon, Borders, and Barnes & Noble. People want the easy “just one click” and don’t realize what that does to the field. They don’t think long-term.
The best buyers are libraries of universities and students. Unfortunately, various universities/colleges have lucrative deals with Barnes & Noble or other bigger, more mainstream sellers.