Recently, Decorative Arts curator Julie Emerson was able to commission a coffee and tea service from silversmith John Marshall for our collection. It’s a very cool process (both commissioning and making), something the Dec Arts department had never been able to do before—that collection had always focused on historic American and European material.
We were so excited about this rare opportunity that we had an independent filmmaker, Aaron Bourget, create a “making-of” video for us.
In October, John Marshall delivered the final product, and photos don’t do this piece justice—you’ll have to see it in person. John spent the morning with us, talking about how the chasing and repoussé create this faceted surface that reflects the service’s surroundings. To me, it’s like looking into a hazy funhouse mirror. The slipping and sliding reflection is meant to reference the ever-changing nature of SAM’s galleries, and the different people who come through and see new objects, or the same objects with new eyes, every day. I’d never seen a sculptural interpretation of our museum before.
Sarah Berman, Research Associate