In­tu­ition & in­tent

Jew­eler Mar­garet Ja­cobs

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - MAR­GARET JA­COBS

From turquoise-ac­cented squash­blos­som neck­laces to ear­rings of thin coral heishi beads, to mul­ti­stranded bone chok­ers, Na­tive Amer­i­can jew­elry has long been rec­og­nized for its metic­u­lous con­struc­tion and of­ten re­splen­dently or­nate char­ac­ter­is­tics. While ex­am­ples of tra­di­tional styles still dom­i­nate many indige­nous art mar­kets and ex­hi­bi­tions, there’s plenty of room for fresh takes on old tech­niques. Mar­garet Ja­cobs’ mod­ern jew­elry stands in ap­peal­ing con­trast to more es­tab­lished Na­tive styles. Cur­rently based in New Hamp­shire, Ja­cobs is a mem­ber of the New York-based Saint Regis Mo­hawk tribe on her fa­ther’s side. “My grand­mother was of the gen­er­a­tion where she stopped speak­ing Mo­hawk in the home be­cause it was eas­ier on the chil­dren. So, re­ally, there were cer­tain tra­di­tions, ac­tions, and ways of liv­ing that I didn’t nec­es­sar­ily as­so­ciate with be­ing Mo­hawk un­til I went away to col­lege.”

Ja­cobs is more com­fort­able re­fer­ring to her­self as a “maker” than as an artist. For her, the dis­tinc­tion hinges on an ap­proach to cre­at­ing what’s in­tu­itive rather than reg­i­mented. “From a young age I was al­ways mak­ing some­thing — but it didn’t nec­es­sar­ily have an in­tent, at least not from a broader cul­tural or po­lit­i­cal sense,” Ja­cobs said. That changed when she

I’M A VERY IN­TU­ITIVE MAKER SO I GEN­ER­ALLY CRE­ATE THE PIECE, AND THEN THE TI­TLE WORKS ITS WAY OUT INTO THE WORLD. I THINK IN­TENT HAS A LOT TO DO WITH IT, AND WHAT YOU WANT THE PIECE TO CON­VEY.

at­tended Dart­mouth, where she fine-tuned the highly per­sonal, in­ten­tional prac­tice she main­tains to­day. “I’m a very in­tu­itive maker so I gen­er­ally cre­ate the piece, and then the ti­tle works its way out into the world. I think in­tent has a lot to do with it, and what you want the piece to con­vey.”

Her sculp­ture Shed­ding Ar­mor is a keen ex­am­ple of the artist’s predilec­tion for cap­tur­ing the un­fussy, raw beauty of an ob­ject: In this case, what ap­pears to be the dis­carded shell of a tur­tle, whose steel frame is adorned with thin, lay­ered metal plates. Ja­cobs’ back­ground as a sculp­tor is ev­i­denced in the jew­elry she is show­ing at Seeds; many of the pieces are crafted from base me­tals that have been pow­der coated, a tech­nique in which polyester-based plas­tic is sprayed onto a metal sur­face in pow­der form, and then baked and cured. Highly re­sis­tant to chips and scratches, it’s a fin­ish more of­ten as­so­ci­ated with bi­cy­cle frames and au­to­mo­bile parts than wear­able art. This tech­nique in­jects Ja­cobs’ jew­elry with both play­ful and mus­cu­lar sen­si­bil­i­ties.

A bolo tie neck­lace, for ex­am­ple, has the rec­og­niz­able two-pronged leather cord, but its ad­justable cen­ter­piece is a pow­der­coated, flat black metal oval, adorned with a small chunk of veiny turquoise. Sleek and su­per wear­able, it’s a re­fresh­ingly cur­rent take on the more tra­di­tional bolo tie. Maybe it’s this com­bi­na­tion of in­tu­ition and in­tent that makes Ja­cobs’ craft so ap­peal­ing. For her pow­der-coated black cuff bracelets, Ja­cobs merges slick and rough fin­ishes, a thor­oughly mod­ern for­mu­la­tion that el­e­gantly mim­ics the ap­pear­ance of black crackle pot­tery. “I’m very in­ter­ested in us­ing ma­te­ri­als and tech­niques that you can’t place right away.”

Though her jew­elry’s clean lines and sim­ple shapes may seem wholly con­tem­po­rary, Ja­cobs sees her fam­ily’s lin­eage built into them. “My grand­mother was a quil­ter, and as I’ve looked back at her work I re­al­ized that I’m ref­er­enc­ing sim­i­lar shapes and pat­terns that she used in her quilts.”

Ja­cobs has shown her work around the coun­try, but this will be her first time ex­hibit­ing in the South­west. “I had known about Seeds be­fore ap­ply­ing and re­ally liked their at­ti­tude about art,” Ja­cobs said, who also re­ceived in­put from her un­cle, Santa Fe res­i­dent and mixed-me­dia artist Alex Ja­cobs, about the venue. They’ll be shar­ing booth space at the event. — Iris McLis­ter

Sculp­tures: Shed­ding Ar­mor and A Fight­ing Chance 1 (right)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.