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Geography Show Catalog

What's inside


I hope you are enjoying the long and sunny days of summer. These days are good for reflection and AJF can take a moment now to look back on the recent accomplishments at the SNAG conference in Seattle: the Geography show, the 'Nothing if Not Critical' panel and a successful and engaging trip. If you would like to see some photos from this event have a look on the AJF Facebook page.We also have copies of the exhibition catalog available for sale at   http://www.blurb.com. Next stop for this show is SOFA Chicago on November 3 - 6, 2011.


Deborah Rudolph necklace

Deborah Rudolph  

Speaking of SOFA the next one occurs in Santa Fe on August 4 - 7, 2011. This year AJF member Charon Kransen returns with an emphasis on the work of Julie Blyfield from Australia and Deborah Rudolph from Germany. There are also some other galleries showing jewelry. Jerry Szor Contemporary Jewelry from Dallas, Texas, will be representing Atelier Munsteiner, Darcy Miro, Denise Betesh, Estyn Hulbert, Geoffrey Good, Isabelle Fa, Joseph Murray, Sarah Graham, Susan Sadler and Pedro Boregaard. Oliver & Espig Jewelers from Santa Barbara, California, will be showing the work of Munsteiner from Germany, Ingrid Ekeland, Karen Arthur, Robert Wander and Alex & Lee from America, Konstantino from Greece, and Marcos Rosemberg from Brazil. (We reviewed last year's SOFA Santa Fe on our blog -  click here.)  Don't forget to make the most of your free VIP pass which you receive for being part of AJF.
Kiwon Wang Penland Auction

Kiwon Wang

Artists for Penland


Audience at the Exhibition in Motion

The crowd at SNAG


Geography Show Catalog Cover


the catalog

Coinciding with SOFA, the Patina Gallery in Santa Fe is hosting an exhibition to help Penland School of Crafts endow a metals scholarship. To find out more, read on! You'll also find out about Penland's annual Benefit Auction, which is being held August 12 - 13, 2011. The Penland auction is one of the most important craft collecting events in the Southeast and a perfect opportunity to support Penland's educational programs, which have helped thousands of people to live creative lives.


AJF has been growing rapidly - in fact, we doubled the size of our membership in the last year. As the organization has grown, the composition of our membership has changed. Once primarily a collector's organization, AJF is now a diverse group of contemporary jewelry enthusiasts including collectors, gallerists, writers, educators, curators and makers from all over the globe. In fact, over half of our membership is now comprised of arts professionals. Periodically, AJF polls its members to see what's on their minds, and in this newsletter AJF board member Linda Peshkin reports about what you told us, and what we are planning to do.

Finally, I'd like to acknowledge all the wonderful people who have gone far beyond the call of duty to help AJF in the last few months - Dana Singer

from SNAG, the team at Meetings a la Carte, the crew that helped set up the Geography show at the SNAG conference in Seattle, including Mike Holmes, Linda Peshkin, Tom Hill, Bin Dixon-Ward and Nancy Yoneyama,

and the donors to the catalog including Susan Beech, Sara Jane DeHoff, Joan Dutton, Susan Kempin, Donna Schneier and an anonymous contributor. I especially want to thank Mike Holmes who had the original concept for the Geography show, Kent Tayenaka who designed the catalog, and Ted White, Valeria Siemelink and Christina Miller, who wrote the essays. I would also like to thank the 'Nothing if Not Critical' panel who came from various parts of the world: Benjamin Lignel, Kevin Murray, Monica Gaspar, Namita Wiggers, and our own AJF editor, Damian Skinner. We also continue to publish the work of very talented writers who often write for free, and without whom the blog and website would not be possible. Thanks to all of you. It takes many pearls to make a necklace!


The Geo Show Crew

The Installation Crew

Enjoy the jewels for the season wherever you are . . . summer in the Northern and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.



Susan Cummins

AJF Chair



One of the benefits of joining AJF is that you get free VIP entry to all three SOFA fairs. The VIP registration for SOFA West: Santa Fe is now open. To register for your free pass (worth $50), visit www.sofaexpo.com/ajfvip/. SOFA is also offering a series of exclusive VIP events during the fair. To find out more, and register, go to www.sofaexpo.com/sfsalon 



Board Membership Chair Linda Peshkin

Linda Peshkin, Chair
Membership Committee



In March 2011 we conducted a membership survey to obtain feedback about our programs and activities.  About one third of you responded and we would like to share what we learned with you.


First and foremost, there is clearly support for our core activities and programs, those things that AJF has always done:

  • Sponsoring speakers at major conferences and fairs
  • Underwriting catalogs and exhibitions
  • Publishing a monthly newsletter
  • Frequently updating the AJF website

Virtually all AJF supporters responded very favorably to our interviews with collectors, curators and artists. We are planning to increase the number of interviews we publish and feature them more prominently in our newsletter, on our website and on our blog.


Several of our newer activities were less familiar to you - things like curating exhibitions and showcasing student work. In the past, we have provided funding to institutions to underwrite exhibitions. This year, we tried something different. We curated our first ever exhibition at the SNAG conference in Seattle in May 2011 and published our first catalog. The show was very well received. If you didn't have a chance to see it in Seattle, it will be on display again at SOFA Chicago in November. 


Our increased emphasis on students and schools supports our core focus on education. We feel it is important to nurture new talent and support the next generation of contemporary jewelry makers. When we launch our new website, it will feature a section dedicated to showcasing the work of students in graduate and undergraduate programs in schools around the world that belong to AJF. 


The annual collectible pin we added as our gift this year received mixed reviews as to its importance when compared to other AJF programs. The intent of the pin is to give our donors a tangible symbol of belonging to AJF and to thank them for joining or renewing. Also, we think showcasing a jewelry artist to design these limited edition pins for us demonstrates our support for the field. We have had lots of positive feedback about the 2011 Arthur Hash AJF coffee stain pin. Just wait and see who's designing our 2012 pin!


In the survey, some of you sought clarification about the mission and direction of AJF. The AJF Board recently held a retreat where this very issue was discussed. The best way for you to understand our mission is in our newly articulated mission statement:


AJF is a non-profit organization established in 1997 to advocate for the field of contemporary art jewelry. We do so through education, discourse, appreciation and support for the field. Our goal is to: create opportunities for members and a broader audience (within and outside the field) to build knowledge, understanding and appreciation of contemporary art jewelry.


Finally, you gave us a number of suggestions to consider including:

  • Holding smaller regional/local events as opposed to just one big trip per year
  • Recognizing mid-career artists as well as emerging artists
  • Adding more interactive elements to the website-e.g. podcasts, video, etc.
  • Allowing  more guest involvement on the website-e.g. guest editors, bloggers, writers
  • Compiling an annual review or journal of articles

We thank everyone who participated in our survey. Your feedback is very important to us to ensure that we are providing content, programs and benefits that you value. After all, we wouldn't be here without you.




PenlandPenland School of Crafts is in the midst of a $1 million campaign to strengthen its clay and metals programs. $300,000 has been raised to improve the studios and $700,000 will be devoted to equipment and endowments for scholarships and future studio needs. $479,000 of the $1 million goal has been raised to date. The Patina Gallery in Santa Fe is hosting an exhibition to help endow a scholarship. Works generously contributed by artists are available for sale and will be on view from August 3 - 7, 2011. 100% of the proceeds will support the clay and metals scholarship funds at Penland. The works are on view now at www.penland.org/patina and may be purchased without attending the exhibition by calling the Patina Gallery (505-986-3432) or Jean McLaughlin at Penland (828-765-2359 x 12). Artists donating work include Christine Clark, Arline Fisch, Susie Ganch, Gary Griffin, Charity Hall, Richard Mawdsley, Bruce Metcalf, Jim Meyer, Mary Ann Scherr, Sondra Sherman, and Kiwon Wang.  


James Meyer Benefit Auction

James Meyer

Artists for Penland 

Each year Penland serves 175 students in its metals program. Currently only one endowed scholarship is devoted to metals students. Penland invites you to join this effort to provide opportunities for emerging jewelers by supporting the scholarship fund for metals. $35,000 endows one work-study scholarship and $50,000 endows one full, no-work scholarship. Direct support towards the fund can be made to the Campaign for Penland's Future-Metals Program, Penland School of Crafts, PO Box 37, Penland NC 28765.  Purchases of artwork from the Patina sale will also be directed to this fund. To find out more, click here



The Philadelphia Art Alliance is showing Robert Baines: A Treasury of Evidence, an exhibition presented with the support of Helen Drutt. It's on view until August 21, 2011. To find out more, click here.  


The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently acquired one of Jonathan Wahl's charcoal drawings of nineteenth-century jet jewelry for its collection. If you happen to be in New York, you can see the work on display in the exhibition Highlights from the Design Collection 1900 to the Present. To visit Jonathan Wahl's website, click here


It may not be contemporary art jewelry, but if you want to get a piece of Liz Taylor's jewelry collection, you'll have your chance at a 10-day auction being held by Christie's in New York in December 2011. To read more, click here.  


Contemporary jewelry makes the news as part of Tacoma Art Museum's recent acquisitions exhibition, reviewed by the News Tribune newspaper. Click here


The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is opening a new dedicated jewelry space on July 19, 2011. Jewels, Gems & Treasures, the first exhibition in the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation gallery features 75 highlights from the museum's collection of 11,000 objects. To visit the museum's website, click here


Rolls Royce has created a new model of luxury vehicle with a special compartment for stashing jewelry. To find out more about this and other wonders of the Masterpiece lifestyle fair in London, click here


AJF's very own Susan Cummins, in a previous incarnation as an art dealer, gets a mention in an article about the arts scene in Mill Valley, California. To read more, click here


Galerie Hnoss in Goteborg, Sweden, is hosting a seminar entitled The Ring: Jewel Forever on Friday September 9, 2011. Speakers include Anna Schetelich from Galerie OONA, Germany, Professor Otto Künzli, Germany and Manuel Vilhena, jewellery artist, Portugal. The seminar will be moderated by Love Jönsson, craft and design critic, and guest lecturer at School of Design and Crafts, University of Goteborg. To register, please email the gallery directly at hnoss@konstepidemin.com


Nervous System combine science and jewelry to make objects with a high level of Geek chic. To read more about their science-fiction-in-the-present experiments, click here. 


Amarillo Books in Barcelona is publishing New Earrings, as a follow-up to their book New Rings: 500+ Designs from Around the World. If you'd like to submit your jewelry for inclusion, the deadline is September 18, 2011, and images should be in TIF format with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Each picture should have a maximum size of 297 x 210 millimeters (A4) or a minimum size of 148 x 210 millimeters (A5). To submit, or if you have any questions, contact amarillobooks@gmail.com


Ted Noten is the new Damien Hirst, or is that Damian Hirst is the new Ted Noten? To read more, click here



Here's a few of the recent books on contemporary jewelry that caught AJF's eye. (Special thanks to Charon Kransen Arts for providing the bibliographic information and summaries. To visit their website and order any of these books, click here.)


Gray Area Gris

Gray Area Gris is the name of an international conference on contemporary jewelry held in Mexico City in 2010. Now this book covers all the many lectures given there - on jewelry, of course, as well as such topics such as cultural collaboration and cultural diversity. In English and Spanish, full color. $52.00


Castle in the Air - Ohuloss - Jewelry from Estonia

Animal liver, deer legs, sepia and cosmic dust are not usually amongst the preferred materials used by goldsmiths in the creation of jewelry. This is not the case for the Estonian group of artists, 'ohulos', which means 'castle in the air'. Its seven members make use of many organic materials in the design of objects, which exist on the border between applied and visual arts. 204 pages, 100 color illustrations. $85.00


Schatzsuche Mit Schucki Der Perlsau

The treasure hunt with Schmucki the pearl pig is a comprehensive children's museum guide for young and old through the Schmuckmuseum in Pforzheim. It contains many journeys of discovery for the whole family into the world of jewelry. 80 pages, in German, 85 color illustrations, 20 graphics, 12 craft pages. $40.00


On Jewelry

This book offers a comprehensive overview of the tendencies and role of contemporary international jewelry from the 1960s to today, shown with the context of corresponding trends in art and society. It is dedicated to themes such as interdisciplinary collaboration, new means of presentation, and contextualisation. A synopsis of what jewelry art is and can be. 192 pages, 150 color illustrations. $50.00


Thinking Jewellery - On the Way Towards a Theory of Jewellery

What is jewelry? This publication is dedicated to this question beyond disciplinary limits and established categories of craft or art, applied or liberal. It is concerned with exploring what constitutes jewelry, not what it looks like. The book presents a selection of lectures from the interdisciplinary international colloquium held each May since 2005 in Idar-Oberstein. 352 pages, 110 color & 230 black & white illustrations. $70.00


Jewelry by Artists in the Studio 1940-2000

This book is the first comprehensive survey of American studio jewelry from its origins in the 1940s through the end of the twentieth century. Following the contours of the Daphne Farago collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, this book presents a history and analysis of the major events, ideas and individuals who shaped the field. 312 pages, full color. $55.00

by Kevin Murray

The other day I found Benjamin Lignel's recent post in Art Jewelry Forum, 'Just what is it that makes today's art galleries so different, so appealing?' It was a teasing title. A quick Google revealed its source as a collage by Richard Hamilton, satirizing 1950s consumerism. So what makes the art gallery so appealing for contemporary jewelry?. Click to read more.

by Mňnica Gaspar
By the term 'critical discourse' I understand those practices that question state of affairs, that interpret, adventure new readings, and instead of rushing to impose their own views, to substitute those of others, they aim to create free running room. Click to read more.
by Benjamin Lignel
Contemporary jewelers write a lot: they have a lot to say about their own practice, naturally, but also a large blank to fill, in order to make that practice accessible to non-specialists.  Click to read more.
by Namita Gupta Wiggers
What interests me overall in my personal work is thinking about how objects function in the world-at-large, and this is where, obviously, the tools of critical discourse can be used.  Click to read more.
by Damian Skinner
I'd define the type of critical discourse we are talking about in our session at SNAG 2011 as being a certain habit of analysis. Discourse is the flow of ideas, conversations, practices and objects that make contemporary jewelry possible (what we mean when we talk about the practice of contemporary jewelry).  Click to read more.

Melanie Bilenker LEST WE FORGET  

by Melissa Caldwell

The work of jewelry artist and metalsmith Melanie Bilenker is steeped in history that is both deeply personal and culturally specific. Inspired by photographic documentation of the ordinary moments of her own life, her works are created out of the her own hair set in layer after layer of resin, then placed on ivory laminate and most often fixed in gold or silver. Click to read more.

Body of Evidence BODY OF EVIDENCE   

by Sienna Freeman

Judith Schaechter's lecture, entitled 'Blurred Horizons: Fine art vs. craft', began by asking the question many other artists, scholars, gallerists, curators and writers have been asking for years: 'Are we done with the art vs. craft debate?'. Click to read more.

Adelaide Paul THE SCIENCE OF ART    

by Kathryn D. Moran

Adelaide Paul is a sculptor, teacher and animal welfarist. Her lecture at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, titled 'Of mice and wo(men): Artists and scientists', dealt with the topic of artists as scientists. 'You have to know the behavior of your materials.' Click  to read more.

Robert Baines Philadelphia Centerpiece TELLING TALES     

by Heather Gibson

The final lecture in the Philadelphia Art Alliance's Commonwealth Series wove together elements of revisionist archaeology and beat poetry session. The speaker - Robert Baines of Australia - stands apart through his dual status as artist and archaeological metallurgist. One might also brand him a 'storyteller', as his predilection for narrative became evident through the course of the evening.  Click to read more.