INDELIBLE 2: Jewelry of Undeniable Meaning

Art. 120

JEWELRY of undeniable MEANING: Jewelry has often been viewed as decorative, displaying the aesthetic culture of a period in history, religious affiliation or provides the announcement of stature in community.

Often stunning in craftsmanship, it has the ability to educate and deliver a subtle or powerful message. Originating from her iconic exhibition, “Brooching It Diplomatically” featured in TIME Magazine in 1997, curator Helen W. Drutt states,

“Jewelry is the most personal of artforms and its intimate connection with human beings in inescapable.” As a precursor to Ruth Bader Ginsburgs’ contemporary iconic Collars of DissentSecretary of State Madeline Albright announced her personal and political views through the brooches (pins) she wore”. “Brooch” and “broach” are the same word. Brooch is derived from a verb meaning to stab, pierce in order to liberate something, give vent or publicity to, begin conversation or discussion about, introduce. Drutt emphasizes, “Brooches do broach” (ideas). The author adds, jewelry does SPEAK volumes or whispers. The artist creates the message and the wearer and viewer are in conversation. 

Some jewelry designers, not only excel in making beautiful objects, but they also view themselves as an artist, an activist with the undeniable drive (and responsibility) to tell a story or convey an important message through their work. The past year of personal struggles and global unrest was no exception - yet somehow these artists were able to bring understanding and meaning to these unexpected events.

With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsgburg, one of the most influential and respected females of our time, countless makers were inspired by her actions and took action (without even being called upon to do so) to create works in her honor.

Bridget Parlato is one of those. Her work “In Honor of HER Honor” was featured in the Sculpture to Wear exhibition called Feel the Frill and “Contrary To The Ordinary” in 2021 at Scape Gallery. Now this work, comprised of 1,000 paper beads created from cutting and painstakingly rolling the printed paper of Justice Ginsburg's dissenting cases is featured in the exhibition “Craft as a Tool for Activism” at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design.

It is a virtual, nationwide juried exhibition and artist marketplace, juried by Glenn Adamson, Ebitenyefa Baralaye and Nate Watson. As the curatorial statements notes, “The national reckoning for social justice spurred by protests and the Black Lives Matter movement has made clear that all museums and arts organizations must do better to represent, engage, financially support, and communicate with their communities. “Craftivism” (as coined by Betsy Greer in her 2011 essay “Craftivist History” in Extra/Ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art) celebrates the power of craft to bring about political change”. 50 works were chosen from over 400 submissions.

“In Honor of Her Honor” is currently in possession by Sculpture To Wear Gallery in So. Calif. (Price $5,000 USD) Bridget Parlato of Full Circuit Studio thanks Jeff Trueman making the video and creating original music!


August 31 2021