One year ago the Professional Development Seminar for the 2014 SNAG Conference focused on the importance of documenting your work, Inventory Records: Documentation and Provenance along with your maker's mark. History can have a short memory and recently this was brought to my attention in a very surprising and astounding jewelry discovery!
In 2006 my parents bought this wonderful necklace and earrings for me!
My parents knew I would like the colorful necklace and big earrings -- just my style. In addition, I collect vintage acrylic jewelry and lamps so they knew they had found something that would fit my tastes perfectly. For the past nine years, the only thing that I knew about the necklace and earrings was that my parents bought it in Florida at some antique or consignment shop.
Fast forward to the recent 2015 SNAG Conference in Boston. On the final night I decided to wear the necklace and earrings for the evening activities. As you can imagine, many people wear fantastic jewelry to a finale event for the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
It was then that my friend Marjorie Schick identified the necklace as the work of Caroline Broadhead (one of my jewelry & installation heroes). I was stunned. I had no idea. Marjorie recalled that in the 1980's Broadhead set up a business in London with Nuala Jamison "making buttons and acrylic jewelry for Jean Muir and other dress designers."
Marjorie and I immediately looked carefully at the necklace and earrings in better light but found no maker marks. We went to a computer to research further and promptly found these similar earrings (left) from the Crafts Council Collection Online with attribution to Nuala Jamison and Caroline Broadhead for C&N Buttons & Jewellery Production circa 1992.
Further research also discovered this necklace by Nuala Jamison and Caroline Broadhead at a Von Zezcchwitz auction in 2009.
How did Marjorie Schick know all of this information? I've worn the necklace at several other SNAG conferences and no one said anything before. Marjorie glowed with enthusiasm as she recounted her experience. She said, "I made trips to the UK and Holland, etc. during the 1980's and spent at least two sabbaticals and a summer in London so I was meeting a lot of people AND buying a few pieces. I enrolled at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design and later was artist-in-residence there as well as at Middlesex University and both schools provided the opportunity to meet more artists. I love that time period when the “New Jewelry” was happening and feel that I am fairly knowledgeable about it --- having lived it and having been a part of it."
This has been an exciting discovery. I've been bursting to share this jewelry tale. To think that I own a necklace and earrings by Caroline Broadhead is just wonderful. I have always loved wearing this jewelry, but now appreciate it with more insight and knowledge.
Lessons learned for everyone:
- Put your maker mark on all your work, some how, some way, so that your jewelry can tell a story even if you aren't there.
- Be on the look out for fabulous necklaces by your jewelry hero. Some day you may find an example at a flea market on the ground (like this story about a Calder necklace) or at a consignment shop.
- Trust your instincts and buy fabulous jewelry for $15, $50, or if you can afford it, $5,000. Don't wait. Your eye for jewelry may be a discovery.
- Wear your jewelry.
- Be knowledgeable about your fields of interest.
- Conferences can offer wonderful surprises (keep this in mind when wondering if it is worth going).
- Speak with your own voice with everything you make.
This is a fabulous book about jewelry as sculpture you won't see any where else. Beautiful photos, and a complete Oeuvre Catalog clearly demonstrates the vision of this unique maker Marjorie Schick. Essay by Tacey Rosolowski.
If you love color or jewelry then this book is a must! Ask your library to add it to their collection. Marjorie does not have a website and only a fraction of her work is on the web.
Learn to keep Inventory Records: Documentation and Provenance of your work.
MORE POSTS about Inventory Records: Documentation and Provenance can be found here.
TAKE A MOMENT to study the jewelry and installations of Caroline Broadhead.