The inspiring “Variations on a Theme” exhibit of one-of-a-kind creations by forty of America’s most influential jewelry designers is moving on. After spending seven successful months at the venerable Forbes Galleries (read about that here), the AJDC collection is moving to Kent State University Museum for a seven month run there, from October 24th, 2014 until May 3, 2015. It will debut with a special by-invitation evening reception on October 24th, and then will be open daily after that.
In 1996, the AJDC began a tradition of asking each of its artists, whose membership is comprised of a carefully curated selection of designers, to create a design project based on a single concept or theme, usually a single evocative word like “Wave” or “Key.” The culmination of these projects is a unique collection of jewelry pieces joined by a solitary artistic concept.
The “Variations on a Theme” exhibit is a sampling of pieces culled from these themed projects from 1996 to 2013. Some of my favorite jewelry artists are represented in this collection: Cornelia Goldsmith, Jane Bohan, Alishan Halebian, Mark Patterson, Mark Schneider, Todd Reed, Kent Raible, and many more…
“Part of the AJDC mission is to educate the public, which is what prompted us to find a wider audience for our yearly projects,” explained Barbara Heinrich, President of the AJDC and one of the contributing artists. “This is an exhibition of art for art’s sake, and it is a beautiful showcase of American jewelry design as art.”
Many of the designer members of the AJDC are also talented craftspeople, and in the educational spirit of the organization’s mission, they are offering an instructive session on jewelry design and fabrication for Kent State students.
The Kent State Museum houses one of the largest collections of contemporary and historic fashion in the US, offering an interesting opportunity, while this exhibit runs, for visitors to look at how American jewelry design and fashion design relate and communicate. It is definitely worth a visit if you are anywhere in the area: it is not often that the public gets to see such a concentrated display of American jewelry artists at the very top of their game. In May, the exhibit moves on to the Gemological Institute of America’s prestigious museum.
To order a copy of AJDC’s absolutely gorgeous coffee table book of the jewelry designs represented in the show, click here.
Formed in 1988 by a group of American designers, The American Jewelry Design Council is a non-profit educational corporation, which recognizes and promotes the appreciation of original jewelry design as art. Up until the time of its formation, much of the industry still felt that only European designers knew how to design original jewelry. Although American designers had not followed the same schooling and classic apprenticeship as the European tradition demanded, many were self-taught creating brilliant, original designs that went unrecognized. Founding members include: Whitney Boin, Michael Bondanza, Henry Dunay, Michael Good, Ron Hartgrove, Jose Hess, Cornelis Hollander, and Pascal Lacroix.