Deborah Aguado, Hoist Four Number 4Deborah Aguado was born in New York City in 1934. In the early 1960s, she began studying jewelry-making at the Tyler School of An in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. She imme­di­ately embraced Constructivism as one of her formal approaches. During a visit to San Francisco in 1963, she was gazing in the window of Peter Macchiarini’s Grant Avenue shop when Macchiarini noticed her and the brooch of her own creation that she was wearing. Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York (now the American Craft Museum) and imme­di­ately recog­nized a kindred spirit. Aguado stated: “Constructivism for me became a handle by which I described what I was doing before I was completely familiar with Constructivism’s influ­ence on other people, places, and times… I wanted to rest my tech­nical skills by devel­oping geometric formalisms. Metal and my tech­nical virtu­osity led me to construct in metal. Furthermore, Aguado was searching for forms appro­priate to hold opulenc stones, and Constructivism appealed to her for irs focus on mate­rials and construction.

Although Aguado, like De Patta, is inter­ested in optical play, she empha­sizes the phys­ical struc­ture of the jewelry-the effects created with the metal­work, the spaces between the scones and the metal struc­tureswhereas De Patta’s emphasis was more often on illu­sions created within the stones through eccen­tric cuts and juxta­po­si­tions, both with other scones and the supporting struc­ture. Unlike De Patta, Aguado also accen­tu­ates color, along with the strength of geometric forms. Her recent brooch, “Hoist II” contrasts the shiny pink of a recti­linear rose quartz with the geometric formality and matte finish of similar shapes fabri­cated from green gold and ster­ling sliver.

Toni Greenbaum
Decorative Arts,
Fall-Winter Issue 1998 – 1999