Author

Bruce Metcalf

Website: http://www.snagmetalsmith.org


Articles and Videos by Bruce Metcalf:

Sandra Sherman

It has been decades since .jewelers have started claiming they were artists, but the long legacy of craft-as-design continues to have a profound effect on American studio jewelry. Even today, the work produced by jewelry-stars like Mary Lee Hu and…

Margaret Yaukey: A New Golden Age

One of the debatable inclusions in the recent Metalsmith Exhibition in Print was a pair of computer renderings by Margaret Yaukey. Of all the images in the Exhibition in Print, hers were the only ones that were not of objects;…

Love’s Labors Lost

One of the things that unites practicing jewelers – especially those who given their lives over to the craft – is a deep love for their labor. Curiously, it’s rarely spoken of, and never mentioned as a common element that…

When Production had a Good Name

In researching this project, Don Friedlcih and I would often encounter craftspeople – whose business clearly entailed making multiples of the same designs – who would not admit that they were engaged in production. We would ask if a piece…

The Wearability Issue

One of the major perplexing points expressed about contemporary art jewelry is the question of wearability – or, more properly, un-wearability. Why do so many art jewelers seem to make jewelry that is too large, heavy, pointy or too fragile…

On the Nature of Jewelry

As the only magazine of its kind, Metalsmith is many things to many people. In an effort to encourage not only excellence in practice and design but also to stimulate dialogue and critical thinking in the field of metalwork, we…

Express Yourself

Express Yourself Ideology controls thought. All too often, we uncritically accept propositions as if they were true, and examine neither the history nor the logic of such “truths.” Unexamined assumptions mutate into myths, and we blindly navigate through life and…

Recent Sightings: Seduce Me

Seduce Me Recent thinking about jewelry has looked at the field in two ways: as an idea and as a practice. The idealists tend to think about the definition or limits of jewelry, and to produce objects that may be…

Recent Sightings: Jamie Bennett

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1998 Spring issue, he talks about Jamie Bennett. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “If, as I suspect, a modernist impetus…

Recent Sightings: Harper’s Lecture

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1994 Winter issue, he talks about William Harper’s lecture. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At the start of William Harper’s…

Recent Sightings: Buzzwords

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1995 Summer issue, he talks about buzzwords. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Words are often used to condense the whole…

Recent Sightings: Quality Jewelry

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1995 Fall issue, he talks about quality jewelry. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ No coherent explanation has been advanced for…

Recent Sightings: SNAG’s first Exhibition-in-Print

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1995 Winter issue, he talks about SNAG’s first Exhibition-in-Print. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I recently helped jury SNAG’s first Exhibition-in-Print….

Recent Sightings: Heart Pins

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1996 Spring issue, he talks about Pat Flynn’s heart pins. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ At the 1994 SOFA crafts exposition…

Recent Sightings: Functionalism

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1996 Fall issue, he talks about functionalism. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The spirit of functionalism guided cutting-edge design and…

Recent Sightings: Jewelerly Jewelers

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1994 Summer issue, he talks about jewelerly jewelers. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There’s a buzzword in the painting community: ‘painterly’….

Recent Sightings: Fair in Baltimore

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1993 Summer issue, he talks the crafts fair in Baltimore he visited. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It had been…

Recent Sightings: Craft Identity

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1994 Fall issue, he talks about craft Identity. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I recently visited the jewelry/metals program at…

Recent Sightings: Crafts Culture

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1993 Fall issue, he talks about North American crafts culture. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There is a distinct crafts…

Recent Sightings: Primitivism

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1992 Spring issue, he talks about Primivitism. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There’s an underground movement afoot in the metalsmithing…

Recent Sightings: Standards

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftsmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1992 Fall issue, he talks about the standards. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Standards It has been more than 5…

The Practice of American Craft

The practice of American craft is set against the larger phenomenon of industrialization: every aspect of craft compares to and competes with mass production. This condition has been basic to craft since 1945, when the war effort killed off subsistence…

Recent Sightings: Handwork

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1990 Spring issue, he talks about handwork or handmade objects as opposed to machine made ones… ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here’s…

Recent Sightings: Jewelry Teachers

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” and here Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1989 Fall issue, he talks about jewelry teachers and their processes.. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Teachers don’t instruct enough about…

The Value of Ideas on Metalsmith/Jeweler’s Repertoire

This essay originated as a presentation at the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ conference in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1986. It has been revised and edited for publication in Metalsmith. Metcalf’s theme concerning the value of ideas as part of the…

Recent Sightings Artlike Jewelry

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” where Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1989 Winter issue, he talks about artlike jewelry or jewelry that resembles sculptures. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For the past…

Recent Signtings: Pluralism in Metals

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” and here Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1987 Spring issue, he talks about pluralism in metals and the metalsmith community. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ One of the…

Recent Sightings: Defining Jewelry

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” and here Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1987 Summer issue, he talks about  defining jewelry, its concept and what  the field of jewelry means….

Recent Sightings: Designer-Craftsman

This article series from Metalsmith Magazine is named “Recent Sightings” and here Bruce Metcalf talks about art, craftmanship, design, the artists, and techniques. For this 1987 Spring issue, he talks about the label Designer-Craftsman. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you peruse an issue of Crafts…

Proposing a Burden for Jewelry

“. . . he would end his days . . . at liberty except for an iron ring round his ankle to show he had been afflicted by God.” —Graham Green, Introduction to The Heart of the Matter, 1971 A…

Is There a Jewelry Avant-garde?

The term avant-garde is freighted with baggage from its source in military language. Consider the implications of applying the idea of an armed vanguard to the arts: The term assumes a condition in which a smaller group leads the way for a larger one, which in turn presupposes an overall unity to a field, whether its painting, dance, literature, or crafts. It assumes that a field moves forward all at once, all in the same direction, just like an army. It implies resistance and struggle, and eventual defeat to a countervailing idea. And it suggests a rear-guard, a reactionary group that desperately hangs on to an obsolete idea. A complex narrative of winners and losers, and organized victory over an outmoded idea is compressed into a single phrase.