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Craft in America


JEWELRY explores the history, artistry, and impact of personal adornment. 

Featuring: classic jeweler Tom Herman; Harriete Estel Berman who creates jewelry with recycled materials; the legacy of modernist jeweler Art Smith; nature-inspired artist Gabrielle Gould; and Navajo/Hopi master jeweler Jesse Monongya.

Streaming starting Nov 4 on PBS Video App,, 

PBS broadcast premiere Dec 10 (check local listings)

Buy Craft in America on DVD


Tom Herman is a jeweler with extraordinary talents who has mastered and personalized the most spectacular jewelry techniques such as lapidary, enameling, repoussé, carving, chasing, saw piercing, and all manner of jewelry construction. Tom has been influenced by many jewelers and designers in his quest to understand and master classic jewelry techniques.


Harriete Estel Berman is an American artist and sculptor whose work has been shown throughout the United States, Europe, and Africa. Since 1988, she has been using post-consumer, recycled materials to create jewelry, Judaica, and sculpture. She says, “I use the humblest of materials taken from the waste stream of our society to examine the values of our society.”  


Art Smith (1917–1982) was a highly acclaimed jewelry artist whose extraordinary avant-garde creations pushed the limits of modernism from 1946 to the early 70s. As Smith’s artistry grew, so did his association with some of this country’s most prominent Black artists including James Baldwin, composer and pianist Billy Strayhorn, Lena Horne (who wore his jewelry), and Harry Belafonte. He opened a store in Greenwich Village on West Fourth in 1946, which operated until 1979, shortly before his death in 1982. He pioneered many mid-century jewelry innovations including bold, geometric pieces that cover and reveal the body, often fabricated from wire and large pieces of silver. Much of his work was of a completely different scale from his contemporaries. He has been called a star of the modernist jewelry movement.



Joyce J. Scott is a versatile artist from Baltimore, Maryland. She is a printmaker, weaver, sculptor, performance artist, and educator, but she is probably most well known for her work in jewelry, beadwork, and glass. Her pieces serve as a commentary for issues regarding race, politics, sexism, and stereotypes. Of her own work, Scott says, "I believe in messing with stereotypes...It's important for me to use art in a manner that incites people to look and then carry something home - even if it's subliminal..."


Jewelry designer Gabrielle Gould makes her jewelry by hand in her secluded studio behind a Victorian house in St. Augustine, Florida. The subjects that Gabrielle uses in her jewelry, various animals and nature forms, are informed by her daily experience of living in coastal Florida. They represent a figurative view of the way she sees nature in its environment.  


Jesse Monongya is a master Navajo/Hopi jeweler, living in Scottdale, AZ. Monongya is best known for his night-sky designs inlaid into a bear shape, which symbolizes strength and power, as well as other forms. His bracelets, necklaces, pendants, bolo ties, and earrings inlaid with Acoma jet, sugilite, coral, turquoise, lapis, and ivory among others are complemented by the dramatic southwestern landscapes that inspired him. 



Robert K. Liu, Ph.D. is the co-editor of Ornament Magazine, which he co-edited with his wife, Carolyn L.E. Benesh. The publication, which was founded in 1974 as The Bead Journal, began with the encouragement of Robert's former major professor and a small gift. It now serves as a conduit for information and scholarship concerning jewelry, artwear and its makers.

Carolyn, who died in late 2020 from Stage IV breast cancer, was a scholar and celebrated collector of contemporary jewelry who shared her love of adornment in her writings and her collections. She was also a champion of craft artists around the world.

Their son, Patrick R. Benesh-Liu, began working for Ornament in high school, and joined the magazine full-time in 2005. He now co-edits the magazine with his father and has covered pop culture’s recent contributions to wearable art in the form of costumery, as well as numerous artists, craft shows and museum exhibitions. Ornament Magazine, from its beginning, has set the exciting challenge of documenting the art and craft of personal adornment. Ornament demonstrates the richness and diversity of this vast subject with a stunning display of creative works, past and present.