Barbara Berk's "Toccata" Pendant Exhibited in New West Coast Design: Jewelry + Metalwork
Foster City, CA – “Toccata”, a new pendant by Barbara Berk, will be shown in New West Coast Design: Jewelry + Metalwork at Velvet da Vinci Gallery in San Francisco January 18 – February 17, 2008. Curated by Mike Holmes and Elizabeth Shypertt, the exhibition showcases the most exciting new designs in jewelry and metalwork currently being made in California, Oregon and Washington State. This exceptional work has been created by 80 established and emerging artists.
New West Coast Design is a group of exhibitions focusing on specific developments in the craft and design fields to be held in different venues throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. These exhibitions are inspired by the rich history of 20th century California Design exhibitions at the Pasadena Museum of Art (now the Norton Simon Museum) from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Other premier showcases for regional design included Designer Craftsmen of the West, curated by Elizabeth Moses in 1957 and held at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in addition to the thirteen California Design events sponsored by the Baulines Craft Guild in San Francisco from 1988 to 2004.
Additional venues participating in New West Coast Design include the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design featuring Contemporary Objects; San Francisco Center for the Book featuring Books; Bucheon Gallery featuring Fiber; Museum of Craft and Folk Art featuring Recent Graduates from the California College of the Arts; and Artworks Gallery featuring Art Quilts.
Barbara Berk created “Toccata” by weaving 22kt and 18kt gold wires by hand, flat, off loom, using Soumak, an ancient rug-weaving technique, and then shaping the precious “fabric” into a 3-dimensional form. An 18kt gold neckwire slipped through the top curl enables the sculptural woven gold to be worn as a pendant. At 4.5” high x 1.75” wide x 0.75” deep, “Toccata” is among Berk’s larger pieces. It incorporates three new design elements and features a 9.92ct Mexican Fire Opal briolette carved by international award-winning lapidary artist Sherris Cottier Shank.
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 work is represented in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her 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, Jewelry Artist (formerly Lapidary Journal), 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).
Barbara Berk offers workshops at art centers and schools across the country. She is scheduled to teach “Weaving With Metal: New Perspectives on Sheet and Wire” at the Mendocino Art Center August 18 – 22, 2008.