Explore the world of contemporary jewelry design with esteemed scholars and renowned jewelers during this day-long symposium highlighting the exhibition Jewelry of Ideas: Gifts from The Susan Grant Lewin Collection.

The exhibition features more than 150 objects by over 100 modern and contemporary jewelry designers and makers from 18 countries, from the late 1940s to the present. Lewin, a preeminent collector in the field, has acquired many significant and unique pieces during 40-plus years of collecting.

Please note: this program is at capacity. If you can’t make it to this event in person, tune-in to the live video stream at cooperhewitt.org/live. After the event, find the archived video on cooperhewitt.org/videos.

November 17, 2017, Schedule:

Morning Session (10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.)

Keynote address with Iris Eichenberg, jeweler, artist, and educator, followed by a discussion with Bruce Metcalf, jeweler, author and educator, and Thomas Gentille, jeweler and educator, focusing on trends and developments in European and American contemporary jewelry.

Lunch Break (12:00-1:30 p.m.)

Afternoon session #1 (1:30-3:00 p.m.)

Jeweler Myra Mimlitsch-Gray and Helen Drutt educator, and curatorial consultant, will discuss communicating ideas through jewelry, moderated by Kiff Slemmons, jeweler and metalsmith.

Break (3:00-3:30 p.m.)

Afternoon session #2 (3:30-5:00 p.m.) 

Jamie Bennett, jeweler, enamellist, and educator, and Doug Bucci, jewelry designer and educator, will discuss materials and methods, new and old, moderated by art and design journalist and jewelry collector Lindsay Pollock.

Participant Biographies

Jamie Bennett is an American jeweler, enamelist, and educator, and is closely associated with the State University of New York, New Paltz, as he both trained and taught there. His work has been shown internationally, and has been collected publically and privately.

Doug Bucci is an American jewelry designer and educator. Fully versed in the technological capabilities of the 21st century, Bucci uses computer-aided technologies to transform collected biological data into what he refers to as “meaningful, personal, wearable art.” Utilizing 3D printing has allowed him creative freedom not available through traditional, hand-making techniques.

Helen Drutt is one of the most influential voices in the fields of modern crafts and contemporary jewelry. Drutt was a founding member and the director of the Philadelphia Council of Professional Craftsmen (1967-73). In 1973, she developed the first college level course in the history of modern and contemporary craft.  Her Philadelphia-based gallery (1973-2002) was among the first in the U.S. to make a commitment to the resurgence of the craft movement. The Helen Williams Drutt Collection, entered the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in 2002, documenting four decades (1967-2007) of contemporary jewelry. In 2013, she conceived and organized an exhibition of American Crafts for The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburgh, which has remained on view and entered their permanent collection. Drutt curated an exhibition of American Jewelry for the Palladio Jewelry Museum in Vicenza, Italy (2016-2018). She serves on the Board of Trustees, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Iris Eichenberg trained at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. She has earned a worldwide reputation not only for her jewelry, but as an educator as well, lecturing in Europe, the United States, South America, and Asia. She is Artist in Residence and Head of the Metalsmithing Department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Her work has been collected by museums and has been shown in galleries around the globe.

Thomas Gentille is an artist jeweler. Gentille is known for his finely executed work and his investigative exploration of materials.

Bruce Metcalf is an American jeweler who trained at Syracuse University, where he earned a B.F.A. and at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, where he earned an M.F.A. He has taught at several universities across the country including Tyler School of Art and the State University of New York, New Paltz. He is also an avid author, writing articles on metalsmithing and jewelry design.

Myra Mimlitsch-Gray is an American metalsmith and educator. She received her B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Art and her M.F.A. from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She is currently a professor in the metal program at the State University of New York, New Paltz. Winner of numerous awards, she was the recipient of the 2016 American Craft Council Award and was inducted into its College of Fellows. She has been widely published and her work is in the collections of numerous museums.

Lindsay Pollock, a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, is the former Editor-in-Chief of Art in America magazine. The author of a biography on the pioneering modern art dealer Edith Halpert, Pollock specializes in writing about the art and design world. She has a special interest in and collects contemporary jewelry.

Kiff Slemmons is an American artist and designer who makes jewelry. Her work mines materials for their metaphoric possibilities. Her ideas radiate from the importance of the hand and its role in making and thinking. She is part of the American Craft Council’s College of Fellows and the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. For 16 years she has contributed designs for jewelry to a paper making cooperative in Oaxaca, Mexico while maintaining an active exhibition and publication schedule.


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Jewelry of Ideas: Gifts from the Susan Grant Lewin Collection is made possible in part by the Rotasa Fund, Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), Gallery Loupe, Sienna Patti, William P. Short III, in memory of Nancy Jean Fulop Short, Helen W. Drutt English, Kim and Al Eiber and Ornamentum Gallery.