Written by Harriete Estel Berman
It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of Marjorie Schick. This is a devastating loss to the craft and metal arts community. My memories of Marjorie are, in every sense, colorful. I’m sure that many others would agree. She wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
You might remember Marjorie from her bold and colorful attire with bright fuchsia hair or gigantic jewelry. While it might seem superficial to mention this first, Marjorie’s appearance was simply her first statement. When she walked into a room, she and her artwork were seen.
At right: Marjorie Schick, Rainbow Riot, necklace and wall relief; necklace: 2008, wood, waxed linen, paint; wall relief: 2011, wood, paint; photo: Gary Pollmiller
The jewelry and objects Marjorie created were statements of visually large proportions. The display of the jewelry was often integral to the work, not unlike the person herself. Placing Schick jewelry in the average display case was out of the question. It could not be contained within normal definitions or expectations for jewelry, either literally or figuratively.
Marjorie did not follow conventions or fashion or dictates of shifting trends. She followed her own singular path. Nothing was quickly thrown together or thoughtless. Her creative expressions of paper mache or fabric were painted, and painted over and over again with layers of nuance. The color palette was developed with an eye for combinations, hues, and tones that could not be rushed.
Each year for the SNAG conference, Marjorie would create a small group of about 12 “pins” to give away. If you have one of those pins, you will always know that it came from Marjorie Schick. Each year they were different, reinvented, and always memorable. A photo of a few of these pins accompanies this post to share them again with everyone.
Marjorie represents a piece of history within the jewelry metal arts community. She was a font of knowledge going back to the 1970s. She traveled the world and exhibited her work internationally. A few years ago I was wearing a piece of jewelry that my parents had found in an East Coast antique store. They knew that I would love it, and I did, but when Marjorie saw it, she identified it as an example of Caroline Broadhead’s production work from the 1980s.
What happens when we lose a person that is such a significant presence in jewelry history? We have lost much. You can read an Oral History Interview with Marjorie Schick or listen to an audio excerpt with Tacey A. Rosolowski in the Smithsonian Archives. Another option is to purchase her book The Jewelry of Marjorie Schick which contains an entire Oeuvre Catalog of everything she ever made. I recommend doing both.
Thank goodness that these resources exist, but it won’t be the same going forward without Marjorie.
Marjorie you will be missed.
Marjorie Schick, Spiraling Over the Line, 2008; photo: Gary Pollmiller