Source: Baltimore Jewelry Center
Eskenazi School Visiting Assistant Professor of Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design Angela Caldwell is currently exhibiting her work at The Baltimore Jewelry Center (BJC) in the solo show, "Women, I Know." Juxtaposing heirloom textiles and contemporary metalwork, "Women, I Know" will be on view in the BJC’s gallery in Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District (10 E. North Ave.) from May 26 - July 7, 2023.
Caldwell creates wearable and armor-like representations that embody the spirit of women and offer a perspective on the strength they provide. By deconstructing and reinterpreting the quilt, she commemorates the women of her past.
"Quilts represent comfort, female strength, family, community, history, pattern, craft, and love," Caldwell said. "The act of putting needle to cloth makes the fabric stronger with each subsequent stitch. I use this seemingly simple act as a metaphor and a source for inspiration. I imagine the women who made my family's heirlooms. What were their thoughts, their dreams, and conversations? I contemplate this as I repeat the process."
The body of work in "Women, I Know calls attention to crafts that have been deemed feminine, such as quilting and needlepoint, to highlight the ways in which women have utilized these traditions to build collective strength and prompt action in response to social issues. Caldwell transforms heirloom textiles such as aprons and quilts into wearable and armor-like compositions, creating works that embody the fierce spirit of women. By specifically deconstructing and reinterpreting the quilt, Caldwell commemorates the women of her past, carrying their emotions and support with her as she faces each day.
Blending her experiences with those she imagines for her foremothers, she reveals the previous makers' central roles in shaping her own female identity. Through incorporation of her own contemporary jewelry-making practices and materials, like powder coating and metallic thread, Caldwell positions her modern voice in conversation with this rich history of makers.
“The Baltimore Jewelry Center features one of the few art jewelry galleries in the Mid-Atlantic. Our exhibition program exposes the larger public to contemporary and traditional metal arts, and acts as a platform to promote and sell the work of local artists and national artists in the metalsmithing field,” said Shane Prada, Director. “We’re excited to be able to showcase Angela’s work which is not only
highlighting contemporary jewelry making, but also contemporary and historical textiles. Creating a unique dialogue between these two crafting traditions.”
Throughout history, women have used needle crafts to defend and demand action. Caldwell's work gives reference to this tradition with the hope that the sense of the familiar will provide reflection, support, and comfort in the face of adversity.