Mentorship trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with mentor Emilie Shapiro, 2/26/14

By Delana, Exploring the Arts intern

Wednesday, February 5th was my first studio session with mentor Emilie Shapiro. Emilie is a metal smith who makes jewelry and her studio is in Long Island City, Queens. We talked about what we’d like to get out of the mentorship. We spoke about things like inspiration boards. A inspiration board is a bulletin board full of things you like. It can be as simple as a cool feather you found on the ground or a new favorite color. We will make the inspiration boards to help give us ideas on what we want to design. Another thing we spoke about was melting metal. Emilie said she will teach us anything that is safe enough for us to do. Also we spoke about going on trips to museums and art galleries to also help us get ideas or inspiration for the jewelry we make in the studio.

On February 26th, our first trip was to the Metropolitan museum to see the exhibit: Jewels by JAR. Joel A. Rosenthal has worked for more than thirty-five years in Paris under the name JAR. This was his first time showing his work in America. In the exhibit there were over 400 masterworks all designed by him. What stood out to me the most about his jewelry was that most of the pieces had diamonds on them, which made them really shiny and eye catching.

Bow by JAR. Made of diamonds. On view at the MET museum.

Bow by JAR. Made of diamonds. On view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The second thing that stood out to me was that each piece of jewelry was different, there was rarely a necklace or ring that looked like another necklace or ring unless they were a set. Something I thought about as I walked through the exhibit was that most of the jewelry was impossible to even wear. Necklaces looked so heavy that they probably would have been uncomfortable and the earrings looked so heavy that they would stretch your ear hole or even rip it totally.

These earrings are made from parts of beetles. They were about as long as an Iphone. On view at the MET museum.

These earrings by JAR are made from parts of beetles. They were about as long as an iPhone. On view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This is called the Chestnut and Acorn necklace, made in 2006. It's made out of wood and gold. On view at MET Museum.

This is called the Chestnut and Acorn necklace by JAR, made in 2006. It’s made out of wood and gold. On view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I would have to say that’s what I disliked about his work because as nice as it looked…you could not wear it. Overall the exhibit gave me a lot of ideas on what I would like to put on my rings or use to make my rings. I would make jewelry that’s eye catching like the diamonds or that’s actually wearable like lighter earrings.

After we finished seeing the Jewels by JAR exhibit we walked around the rest of the museum until it closed, at 5:30. As we walked around we saw a lot of European art. One of my favorite sections was the period rooms. It kind of felt like a haunted mansion because it was so dark but it was very beautiful inside. Some beds were so gigantic they needed a stool to get on and some were so low that they looked like royal dogs’ beds.

One of the period rooms from the MET Museum. Isn't it lovely?

One of the period rooms from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Isn’t it lovely?

One giant bed. Its the tallest bed I've ever seen. The amount of work it would have took to lay down if the stool wasn't there.

One giant bed. It’s the tallest bed I’ve ever seen. It would have been a lot of work to get on it if the stool wasn’t there.

"The Royal Dog Bed" is what I named this very low bed. So easy to get on unlike the previous pic.

“The Royal Dog Bed” is what I named this extremely low bed. So easy to get on, unlike the bed in the previous pic.

Emilie told us that her bed is up to her chest and that she steps on a box to get on it, which she thinks is now broken. While walking to the train we talked about what we liked and disliked about the exhibit and what were doing next week in her studio. I have to say I am looking forward to making a ring for I love rings but never can find my right ring size.

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