Inside William Harper’s Quarantine Jewelry Studio

Episode 98

Between a contentious election, a global pandemic and a months-long quarantine, it’s no wonder that jeweler William Harper’s work has taken a darker turn than usual. Although Harper’s work has always been esoteric, the events of the past year have pushed him to play with the size, complexity and construction of his work. He joined the Jewelry Journey Podcast to give us an inside look at the pieces he’s been working on and to talk about his creative process. Read the episode transcript here.

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • An intimate look at never-before-seen pieces William has worked on recently
  • How William has found inspiration during the covid-19 lock down
  • How William has developed his artistic process

About William Harper

Born in Ohio and currently working in New York City, William Harper is considered one of the most significant jewelers of the 20th century. After studying advanced enameling techniques at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Harper began his career as an abstract painter but transitioned to enameling and studio craft jewelry in the 1960s. He is known for creating esoteric works rooted in mythology and art history, often using unexpected objects such as bone, nails, and plastic beads in addition to traditional enamel, pearls, and precious metals and stones.

His work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Crafts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A retrospective of his work, William Harper: The Beautiful & the Grotesque, was exhibited at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2019.

Additional resources:

TRANSCRIPT

Photos:

A DUCK CAUGHT IN A THICKET:

A GATHER OF SOULS:

ESCAPE FROM THE PALACE:

GOLEM:

LA FLEUR DU MAL REDUX:

PARASITE:

THE ANNUNCIATION:

THE EXILED ONE:

THE POMPOUS CHARLATAN:

THE TAINTED FRUIT OF THE POISON TREE:

Sharon Berman