Craft Show Juror Q&A: Yvonne Markowitz

To get to know our PMA Craft Show jurors this year, we’re introducing a new blog series to hear what they look for when selecting artists and what craft trends they see coming through in submitted work.

Our first featured juror is Yvonne J. Markowitz, the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry in the David and Roberta Logie Department of Textile and Fashion Arts, Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Serving in the first curatorship of its kind in America, Markowitz oversees the museum's exceptional collection of jewelry. She is also the past editor of the Journal of the American Society of Jewelry Historians, an editor of Adornment, the Magazine of Jewelry and Related Arts, co-director of the annual Adornment conference (ASJRA), and the author of numerous jewelry-related books and articles. Her most recent books are Artful Adornments: Jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Jewels of Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin: A History of American Style and Innovation; and Jewels of Ancient Nubia (with Denise Doxey). 

What's the most rewarding or challenging thing about serving as a juror?

I enjoyed meeting the other jurors and all those at the Philadelphia Museum of Art who organized the process. It was also exciting to see craft outside my area of expertise.

What makes the PMA Craft Show different?

Its professionalism and the quality of the artists hoping to be selected.

What do you look for when selecting artists for the PMA Craft Show?

Originality, technical skill, and a sense of the time. When I say “a sense of the time,” I’m an Egyptologist by training and oversee the MFA’s encyclopedic collection of jewelry – ancient to modern – about 20,000 objects. It makes me very aware of the historical precedents that informs jewelry as well as outside influences.

Which craft trends did you see coming through this year?

For jewelry, I see leading artists less concerned with conceptual approaches to design and meaning and a greater emphasis on wearability.

Photo: Markowitz is posed with a bejeweled Gorham decanter that was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, a late 19th century ladies’ watch in the Renaissance revival style by Tiffany & Co. and a necklace designed G. Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co. around 1900, also in the Renaissance revival style. 

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