Thursday, June 28, 2012

Recycle that gold!

In case you haven't noticed, gold prices are at an all time high. If you are lucky enough to have some old gold jewelry that you never wear or never liked it can be very tempting to cash out. But it can tug at ones heart strings to sell your mother's favorite bracelet or worse, something that you received as a gift! So, instead you decide to hang on to this valuable stash, well, just because.

Or.... recycle it and make something new. Just melt it!

Ingots from old jewelry. 

Gold has been passed through a rolling mill to form square wire.

In the past the Gold Council ran ads with a tag line that said "nothing else feels like gold". So true. The beauty of gold beyond it's intrinsic value is that it can be reshaped and remade. Much jewelry has been created through the ages by melting down old gold to make something new.

A client came to me with this very dilemma. There was enough gold to yield several Mother and Daughter bracelets. Each bracelet is infused with sentiment and the jewelry stays in the family (sort of).

Recycled gold made into bangles. ©Favre

Hammered 14K gold bangles from re-cycled gold.

A new stack of hefty 14k bangle bracelets- each one unique. Hammer marks convey the artistry of genuine handmade. Nothing feels like real gold--for sure. This was a fun project!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The New Barnes

The extraordinary Barnes Foundation has officially been relocated to its new home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after a prolonged dispute in Orphans Court by certain parties that sought to move the priceless private art collection of Dr. Barnes from Merion, Pa. Volumes have been written about how Dr. Barnes made his money, acquired the art and the legal battles that have plagued the Foundation in the past decades. This post is only about the new home of this extraordinary collection.

I visited the original Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa many times over the past few decades; first, as an art student and later for pure enjoyment. What made the Barnes special was the intimate viewing experience created by tight spacing on the walls filled with mostly Post-impressionist, Modern and Impressionist art displayed in human scale rooms. Paintings are arranged alongside antique fabricated ironwork, early American decorative arts, Navajo jewelry, pots and rugs, African art and sculpture and early European religious paintings. It is evident that the visual placement of every object in each room is intentional. This is how Dr. Barnes chose to display his collection. It made sense to him and if you go room by room it's not hard to see why he placed the paintings and objects this way. No matter what opinion of the 'correct' way to display art whether by chronology or by artist or whatever, I respect his intention as the owner and collector. 

Sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly
Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa.

I viewed the collection during the opening week in its new Philadelphia location near the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. The new Barnes architects, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, have essentially designed a limestone paneled shroud around a replica of the Merion Barnes. On the exterior I detected iron plates beneath the limestone as if this priceless collection is encased  within a huge vault. The building is spare although interior details in the textured limestone, tile floor and unpainted wooden divided light windows provide a welcome reference to the Merion home.
Mosaic tile floor. Entry of Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa.
Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa.

View to an interior room. Renoir's Sailor Boy is visible in the center.

Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pa.

Once inside the new modern building, one enters the collection through a massive iron gate that is positioned where the original front door would have been. Every room has been carefully copied and the collection is displayed exactly as it had been. The walls are again covered in a linen burlap textured fabric. Overall, the experience is mostly the same. Visitor entry is carefully spaced so that one has ample room to take in the amazing art. One noticeable change for the better is the improved lighting.

Despite the controversy, more people will get to see this collection than previously when it was housed in Merion.  An impressive landscaping plan by Olin is incorporated within the site in  homage to the original Barnes which is known also for it's Horticulture program and extensive gardens. The interior windows now provide a view to the new garden on the site. I feel that the new Barnes is welcoming facility and I look forward to repeated visits and time spent enjoying a meal out doors on the terrace overlooking the garden.

Photographs have never been and are still not permitted. However, a new publication Masterworks, the Barnes Foundation has been published by Rizzoli. 

Of Interest about The Barnes Foundation
Art of The Steal Documentary about the Barnes Controversy. 
Tales From The Art Crypt, By Richard Feigen. Alfred A.Knoph, New York, 2000.- There is a chapter on the Barnes in this book.