MAD About Jewelry returns with walk-in sessions, drama installation – JCK


While the jewelry shows are in full swing, another traditional springtime celebration is back: The Museum of Arts and Design in New York will present its annual MAD About Jewelry benefit sale, featuring more than 40 up-and-coming jewelry artists and established.

The festivities begin on Tuesday, April 26 with a preview opening benefit dinner. MAD About Jewelry opens to the public on Wednesday, April 27 and runs through Saturday, April 30. The event will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.

New this year is a special space where jewelers will work during the show itself, in live, walk-in jewelry making sessions that will allow the public to interact with the artists and see the works of art in progress. There will also be a spectacular floor-to-ceiling art installation that you’ll have to see to believe, says Bryna Pomp, the show’s longtime curator and director.

Proceeds from the event will benefit individual artists as well as the museum’s educational programs, Pomp says. The contemporary jewelry expert says the best part of her job for what some call “the ultimate contemporary jewelry pop-up” is finding artists to champion throughout the show and beyond.

Bryan Parnham Photoetched Tire Earring
Working from Houston, Bryan Parnham creates photo-etched pieces that add stunning 3D effects to flat metal designs.

“There’s no other opportunity in New York or America to see this scale and level of contemporary jewelry every April,” says Pomp. “I organized 12 editions of the event, and [during that time]we have presented more than 600 artists from more than 40 countries.

This year’s show continues Pomp’s tradition of showcasing new artists and bringing world-class jewelers to New York. By Lorena Angulo, a Texan artist with Mexican roots; to Xinchen Li, a Chinese jeweler and sculptor currently studying in Madison, Wisconsin; to Jennifer Younger, a Tlingit artist from Sitka, Alaska, the MAD About Jewelry 2022 event has an international array of talent, Pomp says.

Another example is Michelle Currie, a Scottish jewelery designer and currently artist-in-residence at Glasgow School of Art. Pomp says MAD About Jewelry is Currie’s introduction to the American jewelry industry, and she believes Currie’s blend of science, astronomy, and jewelry will resonate with jewelry enthusiasts everywhere.

“I was a juror at the Elements show, where I saw Michelle Currie and was blown away. [Her work] is absolutely outstanding,” says Pomp. “I’ve never seen anyone work with this material and for me it exudes such energy. It’s like an explosion that’s captured as it happens.

Michelle Currie brooch
Beach sand is one of the many natural elements that artist Michelle Currie uses in her contemporary jewelry.

Currie says she’s excited to create new pieces for the MAD About Jewelry show. Her work is a mix of her own curiosity, her research into phenomena such as black holes, and the effects of gravitational waves and magnets on her individual jewellery. She uses everything from silver and gemstones to iron oxide and sand picked up from beaches near her home in Scotland.

“I never lost my, ‘Why?’ I’m always wondering,” Currie says. “I’m interested in the unknown parts of our world and how it works.”

Currie has been blessed to work with scientists and researchers, and she loves not only seeing them light up as they discuss their work, but also having a medium like jewelry to express that information in physical form.

“They’re enthusiastic when you ask them questions or want to know more about their gear,” Currie says. “Scientists can also be intimidated to discuss their work, but in those conversations you see them opening up.”

Top: Michelle Currie’s brooch is an example of her holistic jewelry practice, which combines goldsmithing techniques with material research “to create curious wearables and visual art.” (All photos courtesy of MAD About Jewelry)

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