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Vincent Ferrini

 
American Craftsman
Naturally

 

by Patrick Kapty

This article is in two parts: Click here for Part II

From early childhood, Vincent Ferrini found himself fascinated by the forms and cycles of Nature, and this fascination has often provided inspiration for, and found expression in, his work. As an adult, Ferrini traveled extensively and incorporated imagery from his experiences during those travels in his designs. In the early 1980s, he worked on a series of pieces inspired by the flora and fauna of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of his gallery, Goldsmiths 3, in 2003, Ferrini produced a collection of twenty brooches.  Made of silver, gold, and gemstones, they were inspired by the amazing colors of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. Around the same time, he produced three “Manzanita” boxes inspired by forms and textures of the Manzanita shrub of that region.

Warm Golden Land, 2002

18k and 22k gold, citrine, rutilated quartz, tiger eye, tourmaline
 

Colors Of The Sierra - Manzanita Boxes, 2002


For his thirty-year retrospective exhibition and catalog in 1983, Ferrini wrote, “Being in a position to review my work over a thirty-year span affords me the opportunity to recognize its long-term, short-term and cyclical characteristics . . . The work from 1965 to ’75 was extremely free both technically and in design, in sharp contrast to the work of the preceding decade, 1955-65. Along with many other artists, the freedom in my work of the ’70s was the result of a generally freer, more experimental political, social, and moral wave which swept the Western world at that time. Although I was never in the forefront of any such revolutionary movements by virtue of age (just a bit too old) and temperament (never a joiner), I was certainly affected by them, I feel, to my benefit . . . The more conservative mood of the late ’70s and early ’80s is affecting my work, serving to reestablish my long-term interest in cleaner, more classical forms. However, I continue to be interested in interpreting natural form and using naturally found objects in my work, so that even in the midst of a seemingly sleek and classical period, a piece like my latest pin of white coral, amethyst, and chrysocolla pops up. These spontaneous works are always in reaction to some meaningful experience, and in this case I was profoundly affected by the form and colors of the tropical northeast coast of Australia which I visited in 1981.”
 

Modular Celtic Pendant Necklace, 1973

 
Taurus Locket Pendant, 1973
 
sterling silver

Earrings, 1974

turquoise, pearl,14k gold

Collar, 1974

tourmaline set in sterling silver, 14k gold, plexiglass

Beach Bracelet 1976

14k gold 18k gold, sterling silver,quartz, amethyst, Scituate beach brick, plumstone, seaglass.


 

Last Celtic Necklace, 1979
 

Over the course of his career, Ferrini has metamorphosed from student to teacher and craftsman in the 1950s, concerned with technical mastery and heavily influenced by the predominant Scandinavian modernist aesthetic, to his freewheeling and expressive designs of the 1960s and ’70s, and on to a more classical and refined aesthetic that has dominated his work from the 1980s to the present.
 

Agate Neckpiece, 1981

 Kiddush Cup, 1982

silver, bronze
 

Esther's Brooch, 1983

14k white gold and 18K gold, aquamarine, tourmaline, diamonds

 

Cuff Bracelet, 1987

18k and 22k gold, Australian opals

 

Geometric Necklace,1989
 
Sterling silver, 18k and 22k gold

Because his work is always unique and one of a kind, it is rare and hard to find, which of course has a commensurate effect on the value. Consider yourself fortunate indeed if you are lucky enough to possess one of his exquisite artworks in miniature!
 

Shimmering  Disc Chain, 1991

Gold

Removable Opal Pendant Necklace, 1992

opal, gold

________________________________________________

Sources: 

“Vincent Ferrini, Designer, Goldsmith: A Retrospective Exhibition 1953-1983,” an important early exhibition of his work up to 1983 that appeared at the Brockton Art Museum, Brockton, MA, in 1983.

Ferrini, “Preciousness,” an exhibition review by Vincent Ferrini that appeared in Metalsmith 5 in the spring of 1985. 

“Vincent Ferrini,” by Curtis LaFollette, an article about Ferrini that appeared in Metalsmith 5 in the fall of 1985. 

“Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design,” by Falino and Scanlan, an exhibition and catalog that opened at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York in 2011, and features Ferrini's spectacular pair of candlesticks from 1959 along with a short biography of him.

Thanks to: 

Vincent and Heidi Ferrini for their generous permission to reproduce the many photographs of Vincent's work over the years that are included in this article. Thank you also to Heidi Ferrini for her biography of her husband Vincent. The Ferrinis can be contacted directly at heidi.ferrini@gmail.com
 

To Vincent Ferrini Part II

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Article by Patrick Kapty, “Patrick Kapty California Dreamin Retro Modern” [760] 671-4879  
 http://stores.ebay.com/California-Dreamin-Retro-Modern-ETC 

Photographs courtesy of Heidi Ferrini

Web Design by Marbeth Schon www.mschon.com

Your comments are invited. 
email: editor@modernsilver.com