NEW YORK – The Ilias Lalaounis Gallery as part of NYC Jewelry Week 2018 presents the Studio Jewelry Exhibition: History and Making Under the Light of the Acropolis by students and faculty from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), Boston, at the Ilias Lalaounis Gallery November 12-17, 11 AM-6 PM.
A collaboration between MassArt, the Lalaounis Gallery in New York City, and the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (ILJM), Athens, Greece, the exhibition presents the extraordinary studio jewelry created by the students and their professors during the spring and summer terms of 2018.
The works were created during a unique educational experience which began during the spring semester at MassArt and continued during the Hephaistos Summer School at the ILJM in Athens.
One of the late Ilias Lalaounis’ four daughters who are all part of the family business, Ioanna Lalaounis, ILJM Director and Curator-in-Chief, spoke with The National Herald about the exhibition and the program noting that the studio pieces were designed and created by sixteen students and their two leading professors. The creative work began in Boston, was developed in Athens, and was finalized back home in the U.S.
Amateur jewelers, from diverse disciplines in the undergraduate program, were prompted to move from theory to practice and make a study piece that would be influenced by their overall travel experience in Athens. Their participation at the Hephaistos Summer School was essential to their creative process. With new sources presented to them from the history of jewelry by an expert faculty, the students and the professors from MassArt attended this unique summer course on the history of jewelry from Classical Antiquity to the early 20th century.
The students drew inspiration particularly from ancient and modern fine metalsmithing techniques that became accessible to them during visits to traditional Athenian workshops and to the ILJM’s live artists’ studios. Further study visits to museums and studio workshops, as well as a two-day studio work retreat at the Ilias Lalaounis main atelier in Athens, greatly contributed and influenced their work. Students were encouraged to examine and develop their work outside the comfort of their home studio.
They subsequently completed as well as expanded the collection of their finished pieces upon returning to Boston. In addition to jewelry, the exhibition includes sketchbooks, drawings, photographs, and a short documentary film.
The journey through the history of jewelry, as well as the Lalaounis jewelry creations, inspired the integration of traditional and modern jewelry techniques and triggered the desire to embrace new experimental applications on metals and mixed media. Not only does the exhibition unfold a successful emergence but also promotes the infinite possibilities of an educational approach which allows makers to expose themselves to new ideas and research. The collaboration between MassArt Faculty, Heather White and Carolanne Patterson, and the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum, Director Ioanna Lalaounis said, “was a unique cultural exchange in the field of jewelry, which we look forward to further developing in the future.”
The participants are Heather White, Carolanne Patterson, I-Yu Chen, Sarah Jane Ellis, Julia M. Gaitley, Elisabeth J. Gerald, Sara Louise Giordano, Gabriela J. Gonzalez, Tora C. Hubacz, Allison Nicole Keast, Aditi Lakhtaki, Zoë Larson, Frances Linden, Genevieve Marie Montante, Crystal Wan Yu, and Emma R. Scott.
Ioanna Lalaounis told TNH that the Hephaistos Summer School program welcomes, not only artists working in fine jewelry, but all those interested in the history and the creative process of making jewelry, including those working in ceramics and also glass, for example.
The unique experience of learning and creating in the beautiful setting of Greece and specifically in Athens in the shadow of the Acropolis should not be missed. The exhibition at the Lalaounis Gallery in Manhattan is a wonderful opportunity to see the impressive results from this year’s program as well as the beautiful Lalaounis jewelry, especially in time for the holiday shopping season.
The summer school is just one of the many wonderful programs at the ILJM. The Jewelry artist in Residency (JaIR) offers the opportunity for the artist working on studio jewelry to engage in a dialogue with the public on the creation and development of contemporary studio jewelry. Residencies may last from two to six months. The program was launched through an exclusive grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation which also supported the creation of the jewelry studio workshops, ZEM (Artists’ Metalsmithing Studio) and ZEDET (Artists’ Jewelry Crafts Studio) which began in May 2017 at the ILJM.