Who do you feel is the most important and influential contemporary shaper of the jewelry world in the past century? Who has been the greatest influencer on your work or on the industry as a whole? Does more than one influencer come to mind?
In recent conversations with some of my colleagues in the industry, I’ve come to realize that many jewelers have a story to tell about individuals who have had the greatest influence on their area of the jewelry world. This has been a subject of great personal importance to me. I majored in jewelry in college during the late ’60s and have been lucky enough to observe first-hand many of the extraordinary and momentous changes to happen in this field since that time.
Having a forum to write about these remarkable people is an extraordinary and gratifying opportunity for me. Rio’s Blog, is the perfect place to host this forum and to showcase the most influential shapers of the jewelry world.
On a recurring basis, I’ll spotlight the story of an important influencer. When I use the term “influencer” I am adopting a broad definition. An influencer could be anyone from a professor, boss, peer, or family member to someone who was on the cutting edge of a trend or movement, such as Alexander Calder and the jewelry studio movement.
My goal is to create a showcase for past and contemporary makers, influencers, and trendsetters in the jewelry world. I want to discover how the world of metals and jewelry has changed due to the invaluable contributions of these talented artists. But here’s the really interesting part: I can only tell each person’s story from my own perspective. So I encourage and welcome input from everyone reading this blog! Tell us how you’ve been influenced by the person I’m showcasing. Did you study with him or her? Did you learn a technique from him or her that profoundly changed your work? Do you have a personal story you can share? This will be your opportunity to add to the conversation with a short statement on how the influencer impacted the jewelry world. Perhaps you can share an image of the person and/or their work?
I will begin next month by sharing my own personal story of Ramona Solberg. She was never a professor of mine, but she was a long-time friend and colleague of an uncle who was head of the art department at Central Washington University. I was a student at CWU and just knowing Ramona, seeing her remarkable jewelry, and visiting her studio was a powerful and unforgettable experience. She was the reason I decided to focus on jewelry as a career.
Once you read my story about Ramona Solberg, I hope you’ll share how she may have influenced your life, career, art, or jewelry.
We also want you to give us new names of people who you consider to be important trendsetters (or influencers), artists/makers, organizations, academic programs, or businesses in the world of jewelry/metalsmithing. Your contributions will change the direction of the conversation and will give us more people to feature in future posts! In other words, we want this series of articles to be an interactive dialog with you, our readers!
We will use Rio’s Blog to showcase some of the people you tell us about. We have no special criteria for choosing one jeweler or maker, institution, or organization over another for these spotlights. Our goal is to honor as many people as possible. Everyone has his or her own distinct style, techniques, brand, philosophy, worldview, materials, skills, and history, so there’s no need to compare one person with another.
Your participation is vital to this blog post series, and I urge you to chime in! Let’s honor and celebrate ALL the wonderful jewelry that’s being created.
Let’s get started! I invite you to leave a comment on this post and tell me who you personally feel was the most important and influential contemporary shaper of the jewelry design world in the past century and why. If you can include an image, that’s even better. This is your chance to share the name of someone whose work has personally and dramatically influenced you. We want to know about him or her. Let’s literally discover the world of contemporary metalsmithing together!