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American Craft Magazine June/July 2008

GlassWear: Glass in Contemporary Jewelry

GlassWear: Glass in Contemporary Jewelry by Ursula Ilse-Neuman. 
Photo by Jeanette Abbink

GlassWear: Glass in Contemporary Jewelry by Ursula Ilse-Neuman.
Photo by Jeanette Abbink

Photo gallery (1 image)

By Ursula Ilse-Neuman, Cornelie Holzach & Jutta-Annette Page
Arnoldsche Art Publishers, with Museum of Arts & Design, New York, and Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Germany

Many artists at the forefront of contemporary studio jewelry are noted for their readiness to experiment with materials that may not be intrinsically valuable but become so through the creativity and skill of the maker. One such material-an extremely diverse one-is glass, and the 60 jewelers in this extremely handsome, 212-page, English and German catalog to a current international traveling exhibition have all used this medium in their work in aesthetically and technically challenging ways.

Asserting that glass is the "central character" in the drama of the works shown here, curator Ursula Ilse Neuman, of the Museum of Arts & Design, analyzes their creation by dividing them into five categories according to the principal role glass plays in each: "old" glass in a new guise; glass as chameleon; glass as surface and structure; glass as symbol and metaphor; and glass as glass. The artists, including Bob Ebendorf, Kiff Slemmons, Joyce Scott, Wendy Ramshaw, Georg Dobler, Thomas Gentille, Linda MacNeil and Ramón Puig Cuyàs, are each represented by a striking signature work presented one to a page opposite their statement.

In the accompanying essays, Cornelie Holzach, director of the Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, discusses the ancient but ongoing debate over the relationship between jewelry and art, while Jutta-Annette Page, curator of glass at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio (where the exhibition debuted last fall), places the use of glass as jewels in a historical context. Thumbnail portraits of the artists with bibliographic information are provided. The exhibition will tour to other venues including the Museum of Arts & Design in summer 2009.


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