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May 14, 2009 to July 26, 2009

Stanley Lechtzin: Five Decades 1959-2009

In the 1960s, Stanley Lechtzin pioneered the use of electroforming in the United States to create distinctive and organic jewelry. The use of plastics in jewelry making allowed for the use of materials and methodologies that expanded the field of metalsmithing into areas not yet attempted by other artists of that period. The use of lightweight materials created through electroforming was introduced into his early work as a means of creating large-scale pieces that would otherwise be unwearable as metal pieces. Despite the complexity of their processes - requiring a sophisticated knowledge of electrochemistry and physics - Lechtzin considers using technologically-based practices as a means to expand the limitations of the craft itself.

Since 1980, Lechtzin has also been creating works using computer-aided design (CAD). Rendering the object in computer-aided-design allows Lechtzin to create exact mathematical renderings of the actual object. The design is then processed by Computer-Aided-Manufacturing, which is a set of instructions for the machine used to create the actual object. Despite the final physical manifestation of the design, Lechtzin considers the creative act to lie in the design completed in its digital form. Regardless of process (such as electroforming, vapor deposition and CAD) or material (including metals, plastics, glass or cut stones and gems), the ultimate guide in Lechtzin’s work is the relationship of the work to the body and its ability to be worn, as well as the relationship to organic forms found in nature.

Complementary to Lechzin’s work as an artist, he is committed to research and teaching. In 1962 Lechtzin founded the metal program at Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia, and works with advanced undergraduates and graduate students who are engaged in using CAD as an essential tool for their work. For Lechtzin, these interrelated components of creativity and pedagogy are mutual influences that provide inspiration in both endeavors.

Lechzin is currently a Professor and Head of Metals/Jewelry Department at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. He received his B.F.A. from Wayne State University and his M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, the Cranbrook Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others. In 1984 he received the Hazelett Memorial Award for Excellence in the Arts in Pennsylvania, and was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Crafts Council in 1992.

He has received numerous grants and fellowships, most notably from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1973, 1976, and 1984 as well as Fellowship in Crafts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 1987 and the Visual Arts Fellowship in the Crafts from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 1997.

Tags: jewelry, metals