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Quiet Elegance. The Jewellery of Eleanor Moty

Book  /  Catalogues   Artists   Arnoldsche
Published: 02.02.2021
Quiet Elegance. The Jewellery of Eleanor Moty.
Bruce W. Pepich
Matthew Drutt
Helen W. Drutt English
Text by:
Bruce W. Pepich, Matthew Drutt, Helen W. Drutt English
Edited by:
Arnoldsche Art Publishers
Edited at:
Stuttgart
Edited on:
2021
Technical data:
176 pages; Hardcover with embossing and dust jacket; 207 illustrations; English; 23 x 26.5 cm
ISBN / ISSN:
978-3-89790-608-2
Price: 
from € 38
Order: 
Website Arnoldsche Art Publisher
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Intro
Eleanor Moty is regarded as one of the most distinguished proponents of contemporary American studio jewelry. This monograph is the first comprehensive publication of her works, providing a richly illustrated overview from her beginnings in 1967 to the present day.
Eleanor Moty (b. 1945) is an early pioneer of electroplating and photoetching in the field of jewelry. Even during her studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and at the Tyler School of Art she was occupied with matters regarding electroplating, galvanoplastic, and the photographic image.

Her interest in new techniques and alternative materials was influenced by the optimistic mood of the American counterculture. A series of biographically inspired works using etched reproductions of images on metal, which fitted well in the narrative-driven American art jewelry of her day, soon went on to garner vast national attention.

In the late 1970s, Moty then began to engage more closely with the use of minerals and precious stones. Her increasing focus on the material and her interest in facetted surfaces, coupled with an appreciation for high precision, led in the 1980s to abstract, geometric jewelry pieces. In the late 1990s, Moty ultimately focused on an architectural emphasis in her work and on more complex cut stones that offered various visual angles – an aesthetic that fundamentally defines her work to this day.

Eleanor Moty designs jewelry in dialogue with each individual stone. She is inspired not only by special inclusions but above all, since the 2000s, stones more commonly cut by artists in her own field. The structures of natural inclusions found in the minerals – rutile needles in quartz or gradated wave structures in agate, for instance – are integrated as much into the designs of her jewelry as refraction, optical contortions, or reflections.

The forms of the quartzes and crystals that Moty uses inspire her designs directly – in her hands, nature and art thus unite in a wonderful quiet elegance.


About the artist
Trained as an artist/metalsmith, Eleanor Moty received her BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia. Her pioneering work in the late 1960s and the 1970s in photoetching precious and non-precious metal resulted in articles and workshops in which she introduced the processes to the field of jewelry and metalsmithing. In the late 1970s, Moty returned to traditional metal techniques and focused on brooches. Selecting one-of-a-kind (gem-)stones with unusual characteristics or striking inclusions, Moty creates sculptural brooches that evoke images of landscape and architecture.

Eleanor Moty lives in Tucson, Arizona, and is Professor Emerita of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught jewelry and metalsmithing from 1972 to 2001. For more than five decades, her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of the Master of the Medium award from the James Renwick Alliance, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, is a Fellow of the American Craft Council, and was designated Master Metalsmith in 2012 by the Metal Museum, Memphis, Tennessee, and honored with a retrospective exhibition there.

In 2020 she was the recipient of the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Her work can be found in permanent museum collections in the US and abroad.

About the author

Bruce W. Pepich is an expert in American and international craft and executive director and curator of collections at the Racine Art Museum and Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts in Racine, Wisconsin. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Craft Council (ACC), in recognition of his contributions to the field of contemporary American crafts.

Matthew Drutt is an American curator and writer who specializes in modern and contemporary art and design. Based in New York, he has operated Drutt Creative Arts Management (DCAM) since 2013. In 2006, the French Government made him a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters in recognition of his accomplishments.

Helen W. Drutt English was the founder/director of her eponymous gallery in Philadelphia (1973–2002), which was among the first galleries in the United States to commit to the modern and contemporary craft movement. She has received numerous awards and three honorary degrees and has published numerous essays in the field of jewelry. Drutt is currently researching a book that documents activities central to the craft field from 1960 to the present.
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