Brooch by Barbara Berk Acquired by
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Foster City, CA – Barbara Berk’s “S-Curve Brooch” has been donated to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by Elyse Zorn Karlin, the Editor/Publisher of Adornment, the Magazine of Jewelry and Related Arts, author of Jewelry and Metalwork in the Arts & Crafts Tradition, and past president of the American Society of Jewelry Historians. “I admire Barbara Berk’s jewelry both for its aesthetic quality – the undulating lines and feeling of movement – and for its excellence in technique. Each piece is perfectly formed and executed,” said Karlin. “I wanted a piece of her jewelry to be in the important collection that the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is building for posterity. It is an exciting time when jewelry is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the museum world.”
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is a major jewelry resource center. Its sizeable and comprehensive collection of jewelry and adornments spans 6,000 years of civilization on several continents and represents a wide array of materials, techniques and functions. “The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is pleased to add the “S-Curve Brooch” by Barbara Berk to its permanent collection,” said Yvonne Markowitz, the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry at the Museum. “A technically sophisticated adornment with bold, visual appeal, the brooch is one of the highlights of the Museum’s late 20th century holdings.”
Berk created her “S-Curve Brooch” by weaving 18kt gold sheet and wire by hand, flat, off loom, in an “over 1, under 1” Plain Weave pattern, and then shaping the precious “fabric” into a 3-dimensional form. A separate stickpin – featuring a 14.20ct Citrine carved by Sherris Cottier Shank – used as an attachment mechanism, enables the sculptural woven gold to be worn as a brooch.
“I’m delighted by Elyse Zorn Karlin’s admiration of my handwoven jewels, and very much appreciate the generosity of her donation,” said Berk. “I am deeply honored to have my work represented in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I share this recognition with Arline Fisch and Mary Lee Hu, who taught me to weave with metal, and with those special individuals – family, friends, vendors, customers – who encouraged me to pursue my vision.”
Among Berk’s honors are a 2004 American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Award, the 2002 Award for Excellence in Design from the Women’s Jewelry Association, and a 2001 Saul Bell Design Award for jewelry design.
Barbara Berk’s jewels are exhibited in museums and shows across the US, including Wearable Expressions 2005 – 2006 (Palos Verdes Art Center, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA); The Art of Gold, a traveling exhibit of contemporary American studio goldsmithing organized by the Society of North American Goldsmiths (2003 – 2006); Art Blooms Jewelry Fair 2005, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD; the Jewelry Arts Salon at the International Art and Design Fair (New York, NY 2004); and Best of the Best at the Museum of the Gemological Institute of America (Carlsbad, CA 2003). In addition, her work has been exhibited at various SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art) Expositions and American Craft Council shows.
Her jewels have been featured in many publications, including Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Textile Artists and Sculptors by Arline Fisch, Jewelry and Gems by Antoinette Matlins, Art Jewelry Today by Dona Z. Meilach, in addition to many magazines including Metalsmith, American Style, Gems and Gemology (published by the Gemological Institute of America), plus numerous trade publications. Berk is the author of “Textile Techniques in Metal: A Designer’s Perspective on Sheet and Wire” Parts I and II, presented at the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing (2004 and 2006, respectively) and published in the Symposiums’ Proceedings. She wrote “A Platinum Tapestry: Weaving all the Elements Together”, presented at the Women in Platinum Symposium (1999) and published in Platinum Manufacturing Process Volume VIII, Platinum Guild International USA (2000).
Berk teaches weaving with metal at the University of California Extension, Santa Cruz and offers workshops at art centers and schools across the country.
Barbara Berk’s handwoven high karat gold and platinum jewelry is available at select retailers and shows across the country, as well as from her website.