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David Watkins: Artist in Jewellery

Beatriz Chadour-Sampson

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ISBN 10: 3925369961 / ISBN 13: 9783925369964
Published by Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt, 2008
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: David Watkins: Artist in Jewellery

Publisher: Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title


For years David Watkins has been a primal force to be reckoned with in contemporary jewellery design, a mover and shaker in this new international medium. This book is just what the retrospective aficionados of art jewellery have been waiting for.

Watkins is the medals designer for the 2012 Olympics in London.

This book represents the first retrospective in print on the fascinating work of the English artist in jewelry David Watkins, who started out as a jazz pianist and sculptor but has been designing jewelry since the 1960s.

At the outset of his career, he designed miniature works of sculpture. Later he began producing outsize wearable objects. Watkins is increasingly preoccupied with the interrelationship of the body and jewelry; his pieces of jewelry are becoming autonomous art objects in their own right.

David Watkins's versatility as a jewelry-designer is astonishing: the diverse materials he uses range from paper to acrylic, Neoprene and Colorcore to gold as well as a profusion of plastics. His aesthetic "idiom" encompasses stringent structuring as well as monochrome Minimalism and compositions improvised in stunning forms and vibrant colors. Watkins is equally comfortable working with traditional jewelry-making techniques and computer-aided design as used throughout the manufacturing sector. Drawing on a wealth of photographs, drawings and statements made by the artist himself, the book provides invaluable insights into the way David Watkins works.

From the Publisher:

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 on 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, aluminium and titanium.

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!

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