Friday, November 16, 2012

Elsa Freund and Art Smith: Modernist Jewelry Designers

I grew up in Arkansas, and during a visit home a few years ago, a very good friend told me about an artist that used to live in Eureka Springs.  Her name was Elsa Freund, and she was one of the early pioneers of the handcrafted jewelry movement.

When I am in need of inspiration, I like to look at her jewelry as well as another pioneer, Art Smith. Both of these artists stretched their imaginations and bucked what was easily accepted as it related to personal adornment.  These are two artists that I would have loved to hang out with. They really understood wire and metal...and their aesthetic was one that I resonate with strongly.

Frankly, they were way ahead of their time.

One of my all time favorite quotes about jewelry comes from Elsie Freund, where she says:

"There are two ways to approach jewelry making. One is to give a precious stone a proper setting. The other is to give something of no particular value a worth by making it a thing of beauty. Of the two methods, I prefer the latter."
I want to share some of these great artists work with you today, to inspire you and to give homage to the artists that came before the internet and magazine tutorials.  I have had a hard time finding a lot of info on Elsa, but here is a link to some photos of her work. She fired and glazed her own 'stones' and set them in wire in a modernist way.

Art Smith is another modernist jewelry whose particular style didn't change that much over the years he worked in jewelry. He states:
“A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are.  Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with.  It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.”  
I found a nice write up of his work here and some great examples of his work here.

Check out the other Modernist artists on the website is interesting to see what designers were doing decades it looks very much like what we are doing now.

Have a great weekend...I'll be back on Saturday!



mairedodd said...

i love this post, stacie - thank you so much... two more people to be inspired by -

stacilouise said...

What wonderful artists! Thank you for introducting them. Drooling over ARt's simple, clean lines, what amazing designs.

Kelli said...

Love Elsa's quote, and Art's work is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love the beautiful flow to his work.

Kristen said...

All I can say is WOW!

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