Featured Member

Each month a new Featured Member is chosen from the completed member profiles on our website. Their interview and work is highlighted on our blog and social media. Visit our archive of past Featured Members.

November 2021

  • Bob Winston
  • Bob Winston
  • Bob Winston
  • Bob Winston
  • Bob Winston
  • Bob Winston
  • Bob Winston
  • Bob Winston

 

To start our celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Metal Arts Guild, we want to highlight the background of a few of its founding members

Bob Winston

Founding Member

“You can’t imagine anything, build up anything, design anything unless you’ve read it or experienced it in your life.” Bob Winston, quoted in The Times (San Francisco), December 6, 1997 [3]

Bob Winston (1915-2003) was an influential San Francisco Bay Area jeweler and sculptor, credited with reviving the process of lost wax, centrifugal casting in the context of mid-century American jewelry design. Born in Long Beach, California, he taught countless artists in his workshops and for 17 years at the California College of Arts and Crafts. His techniques and organic forms helped shape the look of wearable art and sculpture during the 1950s and 1960s.[2] In 1942, Bob Winston taught jewelry at the California College of Arts and Crafts (now known as the California College of Arts). Among his students were future MAG members Florence Resnikoff, Irena Brynner, and Robert Dhaemers — all of whom went on to teach jewelry themselves.[6]

Winston’s intricate carvings as the one of Silver Bracelet with Nest and Tree Brass Eggs was achieved using the lost-wax casting technique. Bob Winston first sculpted wax forms inspired by nature to make molds. He then poured molten metal into the mold and allowed it to cool, creating a metal form. The realistic eggs, gnarled tree limbs, and crude turquoise in this piece show Winston’s interest in depicting nature Bracelet is currently in Smithsonian American Art Museum.[3]

Winston was challenged to think “outside the box” on how he would create the free-form shapes he achieved through the lost-wax method used for his metal jewelry to create a modern play structure that would give children the same joy found in the free-flowing shapes within nature. Winston donated all his time and design work, over 125 hours’ worth, to create this modern structure and coined it with name “monster” given its size and scale. It was the combination of metal mesh over a metal-bar skeleton that allowed the sculpture to maintain its curves once concrete was sprayed on.  Built for a mere $3,000 at Macri Iron Works in West Oakland, the sculpture was completed in 1952. Prize money won at the show offset much of the cost incurred to create it. The sculpture maintained its status as an urban play structure for decades.  It even hosted Sly & The Family Stone for the cover photo of their iconic 1968 album [7]

Photos: 

  1. A Bob Winston ring in the modernist style from Marty’s personal collection. Solid sterling silver set with semiprecious stones [Source: https://blog.martymagic.com/2014/12/ring-in-the-new-year/]
  2. Silver Bracelet with Nest and Three Brass Eggs and Large Turquoise Stone
  3. Gold Casted pendant 
  4. Bob Winston presents at the Jewelry Panel at the Fourth National Conference of the American Craftsmen Council [4]
  5. Coral and 18k Yellow Gold Ring [5]
  6. Building a “monster sculpture” [7]
  7. Children Playing at the “monster “ sculpture [7]
  8. Cast Silver Sculpture [8]

Sources:

  1. Oral history interview with Bob Winston, 2002 July 31-October 10, by Suzanne Baizerman for the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution https://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-bob-winston-12194
  2. https://www.objectsusa.com/?jw_portfolio=bob-winston-silver-sculpture
  3. https://americanart.si.edu/artwork/silver-bracelet-nest-and-three-brass-eggs-and-large-turquoise-stone-71677
  4. American Craft Council https://digital.craftcouncil.org/digital/collection/p15785coll6/id/4084/
  5. https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/58276657_bob-winston-mid-century-coral-and-18k-yellow-gold-ring
  6. Metal Arts Guild https://www.metalartsguildsf.org/history/
  7. http://www.oaklandmomma.com/2016/11/18/plea-resurrect-mid-century-monster/
  8. https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/decorative-objects/sculptures/abstract-sculptures/cast-silver-sculpture-bob-winston/id-f_3144122/