Maker and Muse, part 2: the ASJRA Conference

Necklace by Sybil Dunlop

I recently attended the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts (ASJRA).  This year the conference was held in Chicago in conjunction with the exhibit Maker and Muse, Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry at the Driehaus Museum.  Elyse Zorn Karlin, curator of the exhibit, is one of the founders and co-directors of ASJRA.

Day 1
Mosaic fireplace surround at Driehaus Museum

The first day of the conference began with a tour of the Driehaus Museum and a curator’s tour of the exhibit.  Click here to see my post about the exhibit.

Glessner House Museum

We then toured the Glessner House Museum, an 1887 house designed by Henry Hobson Richardson.  Though of the same era as the Driehaus Museum, it stands in stark contrast with the ornate Driehaus.   Built in Richardsonian Romanesque style, it is fortress-like on the outside and quite simple on the inside for such a large mansion.  The interiors are decorated primarily with William Morris wallpaper and textiles.

Necklace by Mrs. Frances Glessner

It was also of interest to the conference because Mrs. Frances Glessner was a talented amateur jeweler, with several pieces in the Maker and Muse exhibit.  The museum is in the Prairie Avenue historic district and at the end of our tour I used the free map available in the Glessner house gift shop to walk through this neighborhood.

Day 2
Carriage house of the Glessner House

The second day of the conference was held in the carriage house of the Glessner House Museum.  Many of the conference speakers were contributors to the exhibit book, and elaborated on the theme of the exhibit, the roles of women in 20th Century Art jewelry.

Jewelry by Louis Comfort Tiffany
Pendant by The Artificer’s Guild in the collection of Richard Driehaus
Elyse Zorn Karlin Presenting at the Conference

The speakers were extraordinarily accomplished, many of whom had “written the book” on their area of specialization.  The agenda was as follows:

  • Yvonne Markowitz, Curator of Jewelry Emerita and Emily Banis Stoerher, Curator of Jewelry, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, speaking on Art Nouveau Jewelry
  • Sharon Darling, author of Chicago Metalsmiths, speaking on Arts and Crafts Jewelry in Chicago
  • Darcy Evon, author of Hand Wrought Arts & Crafts Metalwork and Jewelry: 1890-1940 speaking on Beyond Chicago:  Midwestern Arts & Crafts Jewelry and Metalworkers
  • Annamarie Sandecki, Corporate Archivist, Tiffany & Co., The Jewels of Louis Comfort Tiffany
  • Elyse Zorn Karlin, Curator, Maker and Muse:  Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry and author of Jewelry and Metalwork in the Arts and Crafts Tradition, speaking on British Arts and Crafts Jewelry in the Richard H. Driehaus Collection
  • Janis Staggs, Assistant Curator Neue Galerie, New York and author of Wiener Werkstatte Jewelry, speaking on Jugendstil Jewelry
  • Suzanne Flynt, Curator of Memorial Hall Museum, Deerfield, MA and  author of Poetry to the Earth: the Arts and Crafts Movement in Deerfield speaking on Madeline Yale Wynne:  I Hate Pretty Work
  • Elyse Zorn Karling speaking on Mrs. Newman, The First Woman Studio Jeweler
  • William Tyre, Executive Director and Curator, Glessner House Museum speaking on Mrs. Glessner, An Extraordinary Woman
Mingling at the conference

One of the great things about the ASJRA conference was that it was very focused and I feel that I’ve come away with a greater understanding of early 20th century art jewelry.  The conference was also rather small – in a good way – with about 60 attendees, which allowed me to meet many of the attendees and speakers.  I’m looking forward to attending future ASJRA conferences.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

ShareFacebooktwitterpinterestmailby feather
FollowFacebooktwitterpinterestrssinstagramby feather

7 thoughts on “Maker and Muse, part 2: the ASJRA Conference”

  1. Lisa

    Please note that if Sybil Dunlop’s name has been associated with the photograph of the necklace 38 at the exhibition then this has been wrongly identified as the piece is classically in the style of Dorrie Nositter. I haven’t been to the exhibition but hope there aren’t too many more errors as there is also a mistake in the Muse and Maker book where on one page one piece is linked to Dorrie correctly and the other which is identical in style is for some reason wrongly attributed to Sybil. Thanks for you posts about the exhibition which is just when I have been teaching so not able to go. Best wishes David

    1. Hi David,

      Thank you for your comments. I re-checked the exhibit catalogue and necklace #38 is attributed to Sybil Dunlop. In the introductory notes to this part of the catalogue, however, it does state it can be challenging to distinguish between the work of Dunlop and Nossiter.


    1. Hi Claire,

      It was great meeting you too. I actually joined Twitter last week although I haven’t yet become very active on it. My twitter is Lisa Kramer @LisaKramerVintage.


  2. Sounds like it was a fascinating & educational conference. I have always been drawn to jewelry from the Art Nouveau & Art Deco periods.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your comment. I too love the jewelry from these periods. After the conference I felt I knew a lot more about Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts jewelry.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *