Laura Wood

(Up)Setting the Stone Juror Agreement

Precious stones regularly appear front and center, welcoming a sense of wonder and delight by those who will admire the beauty they hold. Inherent value in the jewel can point toward status and wealth. Some will flock to a gem for its mystical power. There are many reasons to be attracted to wear or work with the vast library of stones, and so, there is a curiosity as contemporary makers in how we address this with the jewelry language.

This exhibition showcases the work of SNAG members who have taken this format and turned it on its head. What we see as valuable no longer relies on perceived and inherent value. The stone is transformed into a larger sense of identity. Material culture is a direct way to make reference to our surroundings. 3D-printed media, detritus, carved wood fragments, and even skeletons of life that once walked the earth are components these makers use to develop their own interpretation of the stone. Ingenuity is king and queen in a world of sameness in design, and this exhibition is a great display of the many materials and processes making the world of adornment exciting and provocative.

Jewelry is a wonderful source for self-expression, and this collection of jewelers is looking beyond the stone for beauty and challenging what constitutes its setting. They have approached both of these components with innovation. Ornamentation is a diverse medium with the ability to create discourse and inspire conversation. The theme of this exhibition invites a range of work with one key common thread, a thoughtful exploration of the stone be it literally or by the standard by which we hold them.

It has been an honor to jury the third online exhibition for the Society of North American Goldsmiths. My larger understanding of the jewelry world was first introduced to me as a student through the SNAG community. This organization has facilitated meaningful relationships that continue to nurture my practice today. As a young maker, it was particularly educational to have resources that familiarized me to the many methods of making for the body and critical thinking, especially in regards to how we view the stone.

- Laura Wood