David Watkins, Artist in Jewellery

Book  /  Arnoldsche   Monograph
Published: 30.07.2008
David Watkins, Artist in Jewellery.
Beatriz Chadour-Sampson
Fritz (forward) Falk
Edited by:
Arnoldsche Art Publishers
Edited at:
Edited on:
Technical data:
208 pages,hardcover with dust jacket, 313 illustrations in colour and black-and-white, text in English, 22 x 28.5 cm
from 50 €
20% Discount for Klimt02 members
Arnoldsche Art Publishers

David Watkins has for years been a prime mover on the international designer jewellery scene and in this capacity has directed the art medium into new channels. The comprehensive survey of his work jewellery aficionados have long been waiting for!
In their popular series of monographs on contemporary art jewellery, ARNOLDSCHE Art Publishers are presenting the first retrospective of the fascinating work of the celebrated artist in jewellery, David Watkins, who has been designing jewellery since the 1960s and is a pioneering avant-garde exponent of auteur jewellery.

Knowledgeable and highly readable essays by Beatriz Chadour-Sampson, a renowned jewellery expert, and a wealth of illustrations in large formats trace Watkins’ way to becoming one of the most important contemporary jewellery designers. In addition, numerous drawings, photographs and personal statements made by the artist provide revealing glimpses of how his works have been created in the various phases of his career as a jewellery designer.

The monograph sheds light on how Watkins’ beginnings as a jazz pianist, sculptor, and model-maker for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey have influenced his jewellery designs and on the stylistic development Watkins’ work has undergone. His early pieces were still sculpture in miniature but he later switched to producing outsize wearable objects. Watkins has become increasingly involved with investigating the relationship between jewellery and the wearer’s body. To take one example, a piece of rigid, geometric neck jewellery actually emphasizes the soft curves of the person wearing it so that a visual dialogue is sparked off between the human body and the object adorning it. At the same time, Watkins’ jewellery is growing towards autonomous art-object status. The register spread of his “idiom” encompasses stringent structures through monochrome Minimalism to improvised compositions in vibrant forms and colours. His most recent work, on the other hand, features symbols and metaphors informed by abstract mysticism.

Another important area covered in the monograph is the wide variety of materials and techniques Watkins brings to bear in his work. He uses both traditional and computer-aided methods of the kind used in industrial manufacture. And Watkins is certainly innovative in his choice of materials. He was one of the first to use synthetic materials such as acrylic and later Neoprene and Colorcore, all of which were once dismissed as outrageously naff. Other materials he uses include paper, gold, steel, aluminum, and titanium.