The Penland Book of Jewelry is an extraordinary exploration of jewelry making, the creative process, and reflections on life itself. The book is a collaboration between Lark Books and the Penland School of Craft. The book showcases ten amazing contemporary jewelers who have taught at Penland. I’ve studied at Penland twice although not with any of these instructors. I’m hoping to attend Penland again and the level of artistry and expertise of Penland’s instructors is one reason many classes sell out and slots are filled via lottery.
Each artists talks about their background, inspiration, and creative process. And it is so interesting. From John Cogswell’s reflections on his childhood where vegetables came in a can, meats in plastic wrap, eaten off paper plates, faces wiped with disposable napkins. Yet there was a yearning within him for things hand made. To Jaime Pelissier’s recounting of two events that led him to gold-smithing, a childhood broken toy and a necklace commission he wasn’t quite ready for but had to deliver anyway. These and other stories illuminate the connection between all artistic and creative people.
The artists then demonstrate a particular technique they are known for. The photographs and written explanations of what they are doing at each step are very detailed. And they show the level of command and skill these artists have.
Then, each artist selects jewelry from other artists and these pieces are presented in a showcase. Some chose to select people who worked with similar materials or techniques, others chose people for their artistry in design or even the fact that they wished they’d made the jewelry.
This is a lovely, thoughtful and inspiring book.
I’ve had the good fortune to also review The Penland Book of Glass.
Disclaimer: Lark Books provided one copy of this book free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.