Lance Esplund explores Alexander Calder’s jewlery:
Calder, trained as an engineer, believed that most store-bought items were inferior. His answer was to turn every aspect of his life into an extension of his art. Practically every object in the Calder home — from games, toys and eating utensils to ashtrays, bells, handles and hinges — was made by the artist. Jewelry was no exception. Calder made roughly 1,800 pieces of jewelry during his lifetime (including his engagement ring to his wife, Louisa), most of which he gave as gifts to family and friends. And, as with his sculptures and domestic objects, Calder’s jewelry defied the conventions of what jewelry can be. [ . . . ]
“Calder Jewelry” is a fairy tale come to life. One of the first pieces on view is a delicate and gangly brass “Crown” (c. 1940) that rises and showers light like a burst of fireworks. It is basically a simple, crude wire ring, not unlike a child’s costume tiara; but it sprouts a bouquet of magic wands each finished with a star-shaped leaf or flower. Calder has bowed these wands outward, creating the illusion of weight and volition.
Nothing in this show remains merely jewelry. And the body, rather than act as a mere support, interacts with Calder’s wearable art. Midway through the show is a brilliant “Brooch” (c. 1938) made of brass, wire, steel and glass. Enigmatic, the brooch resembles a flower, a bird in flight and a Ninja star. At its center is a cluster of ruby-red glass beads that suggest berries, ovule and wound. As with many of Calder’s pieces of jewelry, the brooch can appear to transform its owner’s body into garden or sky.
Body Sculpture Crafted by Calder (Wall Street Journal)