Swedish silver designer Barbro Eriksdotter Gendell
“LOOKING BACK, I recall being fascinated by modern silver design, whether jewelry or other objects, even at a young age. For various reasons, however, working with metals became my third professional endeavor. Now I find it a joyous challenge to form metals in an eloquent way. My Scandinavian roots inform my aesthetics. Visual and emotional memories endure…”
Silver design by Barbro Eriksdotter Gendell
BARBRO ERIKSDOTTER GENDELL grew up in Stockholm. Her father, Erik Winberg, was president of the family-owned company, Germa, which specialized in lingerie/intimate apparel. She studied at Maertaskolan, the prestigious fashion design school in the Swedish capital, including haute couture in their French department, and at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Design in New York City. This prepared her for a position as designer at Germa and subsequently at various companies in the New York garment industry.
WHILE STUDYING NY, she met her future husband, Murray, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University. The couple married in 1958 and in the following years lived in Stockholm, New York, Geneva (Switzerland), Berkeley (California), and finally Washington, DC, where her husband was professor of sociology and demography at Georgetown University until his retirement.
“AS OUR TWO children were growing up and needing less of my attention, I felt the need to expand my horizon. Textiles seemed a natural venue. Building on my Swedish weaving experience (way back!), I enrolled in weaving classes at the Silver Shuttle in Georgetown, DC. This eventually led to my fiber artist career. When the now renowned Torpedo Factory Art Center opened in Alexandria, VA, in 1974, I was heading the newly created Potomac Craftsmen Gallery (now Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery).”
BUT METALS somehow beckoned. A few courses in silver construction at Northern Virginia Community College got her hooked for good. “This is indeed an enduring love affair and has been my main artistic and professional focus since the late 1970′s. While designing in this inherently hard material, I like to negate its confines by bending it into fluid forms. I also like to play with contrasts, where clean minimalist lines and a smooth surface compete with rich, tactile textures (think textiles, my former life) to create a dynamic tension.” Ms. Eriksdotter is a charter member of the Washington Guild of Goldsmiths; she has been a member of Studio Metallum (known for its contemporary designs) at the Torpedo Factory Art Center since 1983; she was a teacher of metals/jewelry design at the Art League School in Alexandria for 16 years.
HER AWARD WINNING work has been shown in numerous juried local, national and international exhibitions. Some recent participation: Two Capitals-Contemporary Art Jewelry - Moscow, Russia (2004); Art in Embassies Program, Seoul, Korea (2006-09); Swedish 3 x 3, Watergate Gallery, Washington, DC (2006); Spring News from Washington, DC, Seoul, Korea (2009).