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Jewelry and Metalsmithing Survey

Volume 1 (2017)

Metalsmith Magazine/Society of  North American Goldsmiths

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Foster City, CA – Barbara M. Berk’s sculpture “Lace Four:  No Loose Ends” has been selected by all three jurors for inclusion in the first annual Jewelry and Metalsmithing Survey (JaMS), published by the Society of North American Goldsmiths/Metalsmith Magazine.


The Jewelry and Metalsmithing Survey is an annual international survey highlighting the best new jewelry and metals work in contemporary art, architecture, crafts and design created in the previous year by emerging and established artists, as well as students, selected by a jury of experts including curators, artists, designers, gallery owners and historians.  In showcasing approximately 200 juried objects, the publication features the wide range of current ideas and making practices in the field of jewelry and metals.


The jurors for this Volume 1 were Vivian Beer, a furniture designer/maker based in New England, whose sleek, abstracted metal and concrete furniture is in the collections of many museums and cities; Cornelie Holzach, Director of the Pforzheim Jewellery Museum, Pforzheim, Germany; and Alan Revere, an award-winning jewelry designer and one of the most prominent jewelry educators in the US.


“Lace Four:  No Loose Ends” is a hanging sculpture, created with phosphor bronze wire using Bobbin Lace, a fiber technique that dates to the Renaissance.


Barbara M. Berk explores strength and beauty, transparency and movement through the interplay of metal with traditional fiber techniques. She makes lace with round wire by hand, working flat and straight. She then curves, loops, twists, interweaves and sews her flat “fabric” into a 3-dimensional form.  Within this tapestry of process, material and form, Berk plays with line and pattern, volume and scale, density and texture. 


She embraces the dualities and seeming contradictions inherent in such a tapestry:  Soft and Hard.  Domestic processes and Industrial materials.  Positive and Negative space.   Object and Shadow.  Thereby animated, her calligraphic abstractions become intriguing, mesmerizing sculptures.                                                                                             


Barbara M. Berk’s free-standing and hanging sculpture has been exhibited in Reflections and Shadows,  juried by Maria Medua, Director of SFMOMA Artists Gallery, at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA (2017);  Not Flat,  Peninsula Sculptors’ Guild at the Museum Studios’ Gallery, Peninsula Museum of Art, Burlingame, CA (2017); International Fiber Arts VII,  juried by Lia Cook (US), John Hopper (UK), Kyoko Kumai (Japan), at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA (2015);  Sculpture:  On and Off the Wall, Peninsula Sculptors’ Guild at the Coastal Arts League, Half Moon Bay, CA (2015).  


Her wearable sculpture is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA) and the Museum of the Gemological Institute of America (Carlsbad, CA).  It has been exhibited in museums and shows across the US and featured in many publications including Textile Techniques  in Metal for Jewelers, Textile Artists and Sculptors by Arline Fisch (1996, 2016).   She presented “Textile Techniques in Metal:  (Un)Familiar Materials, (Un)Expected Methods” at the 8th Annual Portland Jewelry Symposium, Portland, OR (2015); and “Contemporary Applications of Textile Techniques in Metal:  A Jewelry Artist’s Perspective on Sheet and Wire” at the 4th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts, New York, NY (2009).


She 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


For more information, contact Barbara M. Berk, Barbara Berk Designs, LLC, P. O. Box  4430, Foster City, CA 94404; 650-281-6534;;

Publication:   Jewelry & Metalsmithing Survey

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