Yeonmi Kang of Urbana, Illinois, United States, won this first ever award which was announced at the annual conference of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
'Our goal was to acknowledge promise, innovation and individuality,' said Gail M Brown, independent curator and AJF member who was instrumental in bringing the idea of this award to fruition. 'Ms Kang clearly met all three of these attributes.'
Gail M Brown was joined in judging by Bob Ebendorf, Belk distinguished professor of art at East Carolina University and collector Judy Bloomfield, a founding AJF member and American Craft Council trustee.
This competition is open to makers of art jewelry who have not been a featured artist in a commercial gallery and who have entered – or shortly will enter – the professional world. If still a student, the entrant must graduate before August in the year of the award.
'Presentation of this award marks a milestone for AJF,' said Sharon Campbell, AJF president. 'This is part of fulfilling our mission to nurture the field of contemporary art jewelry. Awards such as this will help to raise the visibility of the art form and encourage new entrants to the field. We look forward to this being an annual event.'