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"Forge the Future"

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Metal Arts Guild

ACCI Gallery, Berkeley, CA

October 9 - November 7, 2021

Barbara M. Berk’s wall-mounted sculpture “A Pair of French Knots” and her ceiling-suspended sculpture “Aigrette” have been selected for Forge the Future, a curated exhibition of sculpture and jewelry at ACCI Gallery in Berkeley, CA. 


Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Metal Arts Guild, the exhibition is a collaboration of the Metal Arts Guild, the Northern California Enamel Guild and ACCI Gallery.  The current work of 42 member artists is featured, along with a special display of mid-century modernist jewelry by MAG founders, including Margaret de Patta, merry renk, and Peter Macchiarini.

Barbara M. Berk explores the interplay of metal with traditional fiber techniques.  Her sculpture fools the eye.  “One perceives shiny lace,” says Berk.  “One expects soft and fragile.  But the reality is strong and structurally sound.  The physical properties and working characteristics of industrial metals balance and reinforce the structural integrity of traditional fiber techniques.”

Berk created “A Pair of French Knots” with phosphor bronze wire.  Using a 16th century bobbin lace stitch with 16 threads in the Petite Knot and 20 threads in the Grand Knot, she created squares of lace to form the foundations.  Playing with the long loose wire threads, she embroidered and embellished the surface of the lace.  Berk then sewed the threads and the lace together with wire to establish each 3-dimensional form. 


Berk created “Aigrette” with stainless steel wire, at the request of curator Hanna Regev for her exhibition Beyond the Warp and Weft:  The Enduring Legacy of the Bauhaus at Ruth’s Table Gallery in San Francisco (2019).  Wanting a large suspended sculpture for the exhibition, Berk made a piece of lace 9” wide and over 9 ft long.  She used the loose wires at one end to extend the lace, making rosettes on short wire sprays.  “After gathering together the long loose wires at the opposite end,” says Berk, “I realized that I had inadvertently arranged them in the form of an Aigrette…clearly a manifestation of my love for period jewelry.”


The Metal Arts Guild San Francisco (MAG) is an independent, non-profit, educational organization of people who are skilled, interested, or share in the production and exhibition of metals.   It provides support and resources to its members through social events, workshops, classes, exhibition opportunities, scholarships, grants, and lectures.


The Northern California Enamel Guild supports enamel artists and the art of enameling through encouragement, information, instruction, fellowship, and inspiration.  NCEG is a charitable, not-for-profit, volunteer organization sponsored by membership fees, donations, and volunteers.


ACCI Gallery – Arts & Crafts Cooperative, Inc. – is the oldest arts and crafts coop west of the Mississippi.  Founded in 1959, it continues to be a hub for emerging and established artists to display and sell their arts and crafts.  Kirk McCarthy, president of the Gallery’s board of directors, says, “The ACCI community provides a way for creatives to share ideas and energy, and learn how to survive and with a few breaks, succeed as a working artist.” 

Forge the Future runs from October 9 through November 7, 2021, and marks the beginning of the Metal Arts Guild’s public programming celebrating its 70th anniversary. ACCI Gallery is located at 1652 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA.  Observing appropriate social distancing and masking, the gallery is open Monday – Saturday

11am – 6pm, and Sunday 12pm – 5pm.


Information about the exhibition, the collaborating organizations and the

quote from Kirk McCarthy are courtesy of the MAG, NCEG and ACCI Gallery websites.

Visit ACCI Gallery's exhibition page

About the work in the Exhibition:

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