Mary Ann Scherr, recognized as one of America’s most prestigious and influential designers, died at her home in Raleigh, NC on March 1st. She was 94 years old. Mary Ann was born in Akron, Ohio, and lived in Illinois, Michigan, and New York City before moving to Raleigh, NC in 1989.
Mary Ann’s voluminous resume includes seven decades of work as a designer, metalsmith, jeweler, educator and studio artist. She created book illustrations, fashion designs, costumes, graphics, product designs, and jewelry. Subsequent to WWII, she was the first woman to be hired by Ford Motor Company’s automotive division, and she designed for other corporations, including Goodyear, Alcoa, and US Steel. She owns patents for her design of body monitors, and copyrights for processes such as the instant photo etching of metals. She pioneered the use of exotic metals in adornment, stainless steel, rare earth metals, aluminum and mild steels.
Mary Ann Scherr’s jewelry, and designs in metal, can be found in the permanent collections of major museums, including The Vatican, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Art and Design in New York, Goldsmith Hall in London, The Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian, the U.S. National Archives in Washington, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Mary Ann shared ownership in Raleigh’s Roundabout Art Collective, where she exhibited her work. Her jewelry designs have been featured in North Carolina by the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, The Mahler, the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild, and the Penland School of Crafts.
A companion career as an educator began in 1950 at the Akron Art Institute. Teaching was one of the greatest joys of her life. She taught at Akron University, Kent State University, Parsons, Duke, Meredith, Penland, Haystack, Arrowmont, and the NCSU Crafts Center, and in workshops both in America and abroad. She was beloved by thousands of students worldwide who referred to her as a master teacher. She said that teaching was “a design in itself,” and students were thrilled to be involved in her unique process of creation. Mary Ann’s joyful approach to life was dynamic and inspirational, and her observation that “design is everywhere” riveted both students and friends. She lived by her motto “create something everyday.” Her longest tenure as an educator, 48 years, was at the Penland School of Crafts.
Mary Ann’s list of Boards, community service, publications and awards, is extensive. She served as a Board member for the Gregg Museum, Raleigh Fine Arts, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the Visual Arts Exchange. She also served on the Board of the Society for North American Goldsmiths and the Penland School of Crafts. She was a Fellow of the American Craft Council, and an Honorary Associate of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths in London. She was interviewed on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Dan Rather’s Evening News, and NBC’s That’s Incredible, and has been featured in over 25 books and magazines.
In 2014, Mary Ann was a nominee for Cooper-Hewitt’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She received many more honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of North American Goldsmiths, The College of Fellows Award from the American Craft Council, the “Lifetime Achievement” Award from the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the North Carolina Medal of Arts Award, and the North Carolina Governor’s Achievement in Fine Art Award.
Mary Ann was predeceased by her husband of 54 years, Sam, and is survived by a daughter, Sydney, who lives in Malaysia, two sons, Randy, and Scott, daughter-in-law, Debora, and grandson Dylan, all from Raleigh. Hiroko Swornik and Jaclyn Davidson, from New York, lived with the Scherr family for many years. The family is deeply grateful to TEAM MARY ANN, and to all her devoted friends.
Mary Ann Scherr’s life was a model of living and loving life to the fullest. She sought to maximize the creative potential in herself and in everyone she met. Elegant, beautiful, unique, Mary Ann is deeply loved by those who walked on the path she traveled.
A private service for family will be held at the Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary’s Street, in Raleigh.
A CELEBRATION of the life of Mary Ann Scherr for family and friends will be held at a date to be announced.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Gregg Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, and to the Penland School of Crafts, P O Box 37, Penland, NC, 28765, where The Mary Ann Scherr Metals Scholarship has been created in her honor to fund a student wishing to study at Penland.
Cindy Edelstein, entrepreneur, author, editor and long time consultant to the jewelry industry, died suddenly January 24, 2016. She was 51. The cause was heart failure.
Cindy was to present at the upcoming SNAGneXt conference, and we are deeply saddened that she will not be with us.
Cindy began her career in the jewelry industry as an editor at JCK magazine where she was the fashion editor. This brought her in contact with jewelry designers and their work, and she soon came to realize that working with them would be her life’s work. In 1991, wanting to support the growth of this segment of the industry, she founded the Jeweler’s Resource Bureau with her husband, Frank Stankus, with the idea of highlighting the designers and their work in multiple ways.
Over the years she worked in many roles to that end, including that of trade show consultant for the JCK show, the Couture show and the AGTA show as well creating her own designer-centric show, globalDESIGN. She also was a prolific writer about jewelry design and her byline could be found in every jewelry trade publication as well as in industry online columns. With her husband, she co-wrote a book titled Brilliance: Masterpieces from the American Jewelry Design Council. It sold out of its first printing.
Her efforts to help designers of every level of achievement brought her some well-deserved recognition. She was awarded the prestigious Benne Award by the American Jewelry Design Council in 1995, and was the 1996 winner of the Contemporary Design Group’s award as Best Designer Advocate. She was a long-serving member of the board of the Women’s Jewelry Association, an international group to which she devoted many years of volunteer work. In 1990, she received that organization’s Award for Editorial Excellence, and in 2001 she was recognized again by the same group for her Excellence in Marketing.
Cindy was born in Brooklyn and attended schools on Staten Island. She attended college at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Hofstra University from which she graduated with a bachelors degree.
She is survived by her husband Frank, a daughter, Remy Sasha Stankus, a stepson, Byron David Stankus, a brother, Philip Edelstein, as well numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and other family members whom she loved so dearly. Services are being arranged and will be announced as soon as possible.
Chuck Evans passed away July 31, 2015 at the age of 75. Evans was an artist whose works, technical innovations, writings and teaching have made lasting contributions to metalsmithing and the American Arts. He was introduced to metals through his friend David Pimentel and learned design and technique while studying under Hans Christensen and Albert Paley at the School of American Craftsmen, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1969-1972.
After earning his MFA, he taught at Bowling Green State University for six years before moving to Iowa in 1978 to open the metals program for Iowa State University’s College of Design, where he was Professor of Jewelry and Metals from 1978 through 2001. His artwork spanned 30+ years and has been shown in 200+ exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad. He authored the textbook Jewelry: Contemporary Design and Technique, 1983, and contributed to many books and professional publications over the course of his life.
A true purist, Chuck held individual expression above all and shunned labels with great vigor. Some of the noted artists with whom he interacted included Heikke Seppa, Philip Fike, John Marshall, Fred Fenster, Ronald Pearson, Richard Thomas, Eleanor Moty, Alma Eikerman, Dominick Labino, Wendell Castle, Peter Voulkos, Frans Wildenhain and Philip Morton.
June Schwarcz died at her home in Sausalito, CA on August 2, 2015. She was 97. Schwarcz was among the most innovative and highly respected artists working in the late 20th-century enamels field. Best known for her electroformed metal sculpture, embellished with rich enamel color, she produced an extensive body of work which, while referring to time-honored vessel making traditions, defy convention.
Recognized early on for her innovative approach to the medium, she was included in 1956 in Craftsmanship in a Changing World, the inaugural exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York (now the Museum of Arts and Design); that museum’s 1959 exhibition Enamels; and the traveling exhibition Objects: U.S.A. in 1969. She was designated a California Living Treasure in 1985.
She was a founding member of the Northern California Enamels Guild, a member of the Enamelist Society where in 1991 she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009 she was given the Masters of the Medium Award by the James Renwick Alliance of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Schwarcz was also a long-time member of SNAG.
In 2009 her work was featured in Transformed by Fire: June Schwarcz Enameled Vessels at the Mingei Museum, San Diego.
Examples of her work are in the collections of numerous institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and many others.
These are just some of June Schwarcz’s accomplishments. Much more about her can be found in the obituary published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Also see Mike Holmes’ article on the Art Jewelry Forum website.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
Edith Sommer passed away in February 2015. Art was a driving force in her life and she was instrumental in the creation of Gallery House in 1958, an artists’ cooperative still thriving in Palo Alto, CA. Born and raised in Chicago and educated at the University of Illinois, Sommer and her husband moved to Palo Alto in 1949.
Her path as an artist began in the early ’50s, and jewelry was her biggest passion. She took classes and workshops throughout her life, studying with masters of the craft. Over the years Sommer added other media to her repertoire, including work with recycled copper she removed from auto radiators, which she fashioned into wearable vests, masks and containers. She recently became interested in adding polymer clay to her silver work. Sommer was a long-time SNAG member.
Edith Sommer: An Artist’s Retrospective will be on exhibition at Palo Alto Art Center Studio Gallery from June 26-September 6, 2015. Opening reception June 27, 1:00-4:00 p.m.