MARJORIE SIMON

JEWELER | WRITER | EDUCATOR
Marjorie Simon STUDIO JEWELER, WRITER, EDUCATOR

MARJORIE SIMON

BRIEF BIO AND ARTIST STATEMENT

I was trained as a sociologist but I’ve been an artist all my life. I’ve made jewelry since I was a child in summer camp, but detoured into academia, earning a BA and MA in sociology and teaching it at the college level for several years before returning to my true love as a maker.

I have been making jewelry and metalwork for over 40 years, studying with the excellent faculty at community based institutions and crafts communities that exist in the United States. For several decades I sold my work at craft shows and produced edition work as well as one-of-a-kind pieces. Although I no longer travel around doing shows, I continue to sell my work in select galleries. In 1995 I began to use vitreous enamel on copper and this has become a large part of my studio practice. I love the magic of glass and the structure of metal. I make enamel jewelry and have recently completed a sculpture installation of enameled objects.

Because of my early academic training, I eventually began to write professionally. Since the 1990s I have been a regular writer of feature articles and criticism for Metalsmith and other publications, including catalogue essays for leading artists in the field. I have taught workshops in community centers, private studios, and crafts communities. I continue to take workshops at these same schools when I want to learn a new skill, be challenged in my own thinking, or study with visiting artists from around the world.

My work has evolved through several stages, driven equally by concept and technological challenges. After working alone for a decade, I began attending the 92nd St Y, spending time in NY and learning about contemporary art jewelry. I made jewelry, clocks and small sculptures while studying with everyone who came through the studios at the Y. In the 1990s I used a lot of found and repurposed materials, including rusted metal, painted tin and broken car glass. Around 2000 I developed an interest in botanicals—floral and plant themes from history, such as William Morris wallpaper, artifacts from around the world, live blooming garden plants, and other botanical imagery. I continue to derive design ideas from photographing plants and digitally manipulating the images and abstracting them or interpreting the forms in metal.

Over time, I developed my own voice and themes. As my children grew up and I wasn’t so tied to home, I used domestic imagery in my work—jewelry and clocks in the shape of houses, small 3-dimensional dwellings. Working exclusively in metal and vitreous enamel, the colored glass and metal substrate gives exactly the form and surface I’m looking for. The narrative of the Houses and Barracks, my latest large body of work, evolved out of two years’ experiences and explorations. It became not only my most personal, mature work, but, I hope, my most layered and universal. Ostensibly dealing with the Holocaust, it references all losses, abandonment, aging, as well as what human beings are able to do to and for each other. I continue to explore the theme of the house and shelter, and have begun to expand it as metaphor.