By Lenore Fedow
A Matilija Poppy brooch by Tom Herman/Seven Fingers and Patsy Croft made in gold and plique-a-jour enamel. Herman and Croft will talk about the project at the ASJRA conference this fall.
Ellicott City, Md.—The Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts will hold its fifteenth annual conference virtually this October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference was set to take place in person in April this year in New York City, but was then postponed to September before being postponed again to October and moved online.

In an email to National Jeweler in March, event co-director Elyse Zorn Karlin said the organizers felt they had too many attendees who are in the high-risk group for coronavirus.

“We could not in good conscience be responsible for a gathering that might help expose people to the virus, despite the financial losses we will suffer,” she wrote.

It will now be held Oct. 10-11 and keep its original speaker line-up, inviting nine speakers to hold 10 lectures.

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The theme of this year’s conference is “Jewelry in America,” and it is open to anyone who is interested in jewelry and jewelry history.

Keynote speaker Beth Wees, the Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will open the conference.

Conceptual gem artist John Nels Hatleberg will present “An Affinity for Gems.” He is known for creating exact replicas of famous diamonds.

ASJRA co-director Elyse Zorn Karlin will hold three talks: one discussing the jewelry of Peter Lindenauer on Oct. 10, one on the Diamond Jim Brady on Oct. 11, and another on the jewelry of Robert Lee Morris, also on Oct. 11.

Curator and scholar Jeannine Falino will discuss the work of Betty Cooke in “The Circle and the Line, Over 70 Years of Designs by Betty Cooke.”

Falino is currently curating a retrospective of Cooke’s work for the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, which is set to open in fall 2021. 

Annamarie Sandecki, who has been Tiffany’s corporate archivist for 28 years, will present “Notably American: Tiffany & Co. Jewelry at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle.”

On the second day, artisan goldsmith Tom Herman will present “Analyzing Plique-a-Jour Jewelry by Marcus & Co. and the Matilija Poppy Brooch Project.”

Herman will be joined by enamelist Patsy Croft, who helped to create the Matilija brooch.

Curator and author Lois Sherr Dubin will present “Floral Journey: Native North American Flower Beadwork.”

Dubin has published the History of Beads: From 30,000 B.C. to the Present and North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment.

Jonathan Wahl will present “Jonathan Wahl, Artist & Director of the 92nd Street Y Jewelry Program.” Wahl oversees 55 weekly jewelry-making classes at the Y’s metalsmithing studios.

The additional study day, which originally included a curator’s tour of the “Jewelry for America” exhibition at the Met with Wees, a group luncheon and guided tour of the Mt. Vernon Hotel Museum on the east side of Manhattan, will not take place.

It would not be possible to do it virtually, said Karlin in an email to National Jeweler.

Registration for the conference is open to all and costs $155 for access to the two-day event.

The early bird price is $140, if you register by Sept. 1. ASJRA members receive a 10 percent discount.

For more information or to register, go to ASJRA’s website.

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