Deborah Aguado Mask

Deborah 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