Contemporary Art Jewellery and the Craft Ideal

Session 1

The studio craft movement solidified the concept of individual creative genius applied to craft. Individual genius is still crucial in current discourses around contemporary craft, notably contemporary art jewellery, which struggles to strip itself from the romanticism of studio craft to adopt various distinctive values of third-wave craft, where making stands in response to certain politics, fosters community engagement and is embedded in social networks. 

With the glorification of individual genius comes a never-ending search for the craft ideal: one that is loaded with notions of sacrifice, devotion and commitment. “True” artists are expected to devote themselves to material or technique, sacrifice their lives for the good of their work and constantly transcend our material culture through their practice. 

This discussion with jewellery artists Gabrielle Desmarais and Paul McClure, led by artist and independent curator Marie-Eve G. Castonguay, will touch upon the impact of such an ideal on the current art jewellery practice and how it resonates with artists today in a field that is stirred by a changing demographic.