11th Biennial Juried Member Exhibition
Items shown included jewelry, sculpture and holloware and ceremonial and ritual objects. Gold and silver predominated in the materials used, other materials included gemstones, enamel and found objects.
6 exhibitors were awarded Juror’s special recognition (images above from left) Nick Grant Banes, Tina Chisena, Susan M. Garten, Wesley Glebe, Eric Margry and Evelyn Purvis
Bringing forth a piece of jewelry from any material can be extremely difficult and extraordinarily rewarding. In this we are all fortunate, for success or failure is accomplished through our own talents and efforts.
Do not envy anyone asked to judge an exhibition. It can be amazingly complex and exhausting. Being absolutely honest and fighting one’s personal prejudices (both good and bad) when looking at hundreds of works is tiring. It is also hard on the feet, the back, and the eyes. However, as in the Washington Guild of Goldsmiths’ exhibition, when the quality and enthusiasm of the work runs high, a kind of joy overtakes the judge. This joy soars when working with a fine fellow judge, and especially when aided by a superb, hardworking, and gracious staff.
By the time we announced the prizes, I was on cloud nine. It is most pleasant to float on that cloud above the earth for a while. Perhaps you might envy the judge after all, or better yet, take pride in that you enabled someone to soar.
Metal working and its traditions go back in time almost six thousand years. Simply gaining an ( awareness of all known techniques would be a daunting task, let alone learning them. It would be a life’s work just to master one or two techniques of jewelry-making, not to mention the techniques of sculpture, hollowware, and blacksmithing.
There are numerous ways that people acquire the skills of metalsmithing. Some people come to metals as a hobby or a part-time endeavor and polish their skills through workshops, videos or books. It doesn’t matter where or how we learn. The goal is the same. We strive to develop our skills to a level where a design in our minds eye can become an object that can be held in the hands.
My designer-craftsman training was comprised of a foundation program at a traditional art college, followed by classes in design, sculpture, drawing, and metals. The term ‘designer-craftsman was coined during the sixties to describe who we are and what we do. When I look at others’ work, I do so as a designer, a craftsman, and as a teacher.
There are several different goals to achieve, as a juror, when critiquing someone’s work For me, critiquing is teaching by advice -offering options and suggestions. The two main areas to critique are design, which can be subjective, and technique, which is not. To jury is to judge a work. The work must be judged on its own merit and must be compared to all work that has come before it. Remember our tradition.
As a juror, I look for work that will raise my eyebrow for its technical merit or put a smile on my face with a clever solution to a design problem.
The Washington Guild of Goldsmiths gave me the chance to raise my eyebrow and smile a number of times. As a designer-craftsman and a teacher, I encourage people to come to the craft with the sole intention of pleasing themselves with their work first, and worrying about others’ opinions later.