Channeling her grandmother’s sartorial influence, she states, “The jewelry is not static, the same way people are not static.”
Debra Lynn Gold has a genuine reverence for jewelry, and maintains an awe for the field suggestive of an outsider looking in. In 1978, in an autobiographical article for Goldsmiths Journal (the predecessor to Metalsmith), she wrote, “At the moment I am nothing I was supposed to be, yet everything I want to be.” Despite this sense of surprised satisfaction with her profession, as strong today as it was over three decades ago, Gold is an insider—an organizer, a teacher, a diligent worker, and a maker whose craft is fully integrated into her daily life. Gold works in Atlanta, Georgia, creating distinctive aluminum and silver jewelry, which she describes as “engineered structures with playful components that incorporate movement,” and contributing to her field in a multitude of ways.
While much of Gold’s jewelry has a light-hearted, quirky presence, it is well crafted and made to last. Gold appreciates how jewelry is “human scale” and enjoys its dual nature, the fact that it is one thing on its own and something new when worn. The significance of jewelry, and its piercing intimacy, hit her especially deeply when her mother, Lillian Schildcrout, passed away in 2001. Her mother divested herself of much of her jewelry as her health declined, but when she died she still was wearing—with just a simple hospital gown—her wedding ring and a bracelet with the names of her grandchildren. Gold remarks, “Jewelry is so poignant—it has the ability to define us! What a privilege it is to be able to create such dear objects, objects that may even become heirlooms.”
is an independent scholar and curator in Athens, Georgia. She is the author of Georgia Bellflowers: The Furniture of Henry Eugene Thomas (recently published by the Georgia Museum of Art), as well as books on the modern designers Ilonka Karasz and Mariska Karasz. She first met Debra Lynn Gold during the fifth Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show, a vibrant and well-organized event, then at her lovely, art-filled home. Gold’s conversational style is a delightful blend of a craftsman’s love for metal and a teacher’s desire to instruct and encourage—resulting in a wholly positive and enjoyable experience.
This article in its entirety appears only in the print magazine.
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Smithsonian Craft Show
Women Working Words-Facèré
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