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Riffing On a Theme

Riffing On a Theme

Riffing On a Theme

October/November 2013 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Mediums Jewelry Furniture
Showcase 500: Art Necklaces

Showcase 500: Art Necklaces. Photo: Mark LaFavor

New Earrings
500+ Designs from Around the World
By Nicolas Estrada
Thames & Hudson, $30

Showcase 500: Art Necklaces
By Ray Hemachandra and Chunghi Choo
Lark Jewelry & Beading, $28

What’s more delightful than a look book? For jewelry makers (and lovers), two new ones present a wonderland of possibilities. Both New Earrings and Showcase 500: Art Necklaces are inch-thick volumes that offer page after page of inspiration. Both are international in scope. Both celebrate traditional metals and gemstones alongside such offbeat materials as concrete, balloons, and suction cups.

For Art Necklaces, juror Chunghi Choo chose a number of artists who will be familiar to American Craft readers, including Lisa Klakulak, Tia Kramer, and Myung Urso. Some work veers into the fertile territory of neckpiece and breastplate.

In New Earrings, Nicolas Estrada groups his choices into four semi-logical categories: Elegant, Daring, Delicate, and Sublime. His selections include three artists featured in this issue: Biba Schutz (page 58), Nicole Jacquard (page 56), and Daniel DiCaprio (page 52). Some of the earring pairs are matched sets; others pack more of a conceptual one-two punch.

Both books offer useful indexes; New Earrings’ index includes brief bios of the 180 artists whose work is shown.  ~Monica Moses

We Sit Together
Utopian Benches from the Shakers to the Separatists of Zoar
By Francis Cape
Princeton Architectural Press, $25

The humble bench takes on new life in Francis Cape’s exploration of mostly 19th- and 20th-century American intentional communities. The British-born artist and author, now working in upstate New York, built almost two dozen benches, studiously re-creating furniture in the distinct but minimal styles of utopian societies both secular and religious. (The benches were shown this past summer at Murray Guy gallery in New York.) In the book, brief histories and lasting influences of the 12 communities are rounded out with blueprints and photographs of Cape’s re-created works from the likes of the Shakers, Harmony Society, and Hutterites, among others, putting skillfully executed craft in excellent context.  ~Andrew Zoellner

Art & Sole
By Jane Gershon Weitzman
Photography by Lucas Zarebinski
Harper Design, $30

Jane Gershon Weitzman’s name, embossed in gold on this compact volume’s cover, is bound to catch a shoe-lover’s eye. Craft fans will want to peek within, where they’ll find more than 150 of the thousands of whimsical, sculptural shoes the author acquired or commissioned for shoe designer (and husband) Stuart Weitzman’s retail displays. The lack of captions – even artists’ names – accompanying the works is at first disorienting. But materials are listed in the back, with artist bios and a visual index. And clean pages allow readers to revel in creative expression, the “thrill of seeing [the] finished pieces” that Gershon Weitzman writes about in her thoughtful intro. ~Julie K. Hanus