Post contributed by Holly Wilson, Research & Instruction Librarian & Associate Professor
Library Adorned is an annual exhibit that the Pratt Institute Libraries and the Jewelry department have been collaborating on since 2014. This exhibition features the work of Jewelry I students and gives them the experience of using the historic library building and its collections as inspiration for their art, as well as a forum to present their work to the larger community. The resulting student work for Library Adorned has traditionally been displayed throughout the Brooklyn campus library juxtaposed with the inspirational item, be it a book from the stacks, an architectural detail from our historic 1896 building or an image from the digital collections.
2015 Poster and Installation View
With the Brooklyn Library building closed to students, faculty, and staff, and the Libraries focusing on electronic resources that students can access from wherever they’re located around the world, it was clear that we were going to have to do something a little different this year.
As the new liaison librarian to the Jewelry program, working with the Jewelry I class to re-conceptualize this project was a great opportunity for me to get involved with classes right away. Traditionally, students have come into the library and a librarian has pulled a wide selection of materials from a variety of collections. Knowing the library would be closed to browsing, I reached out to the faculty prior to the start of the semester to strategize. With the switch to mostly-online teaching, we had to reconfigure the instruction into an online format. To ensure that all students had access to a wide range of inspirational materials, I created a slideshow with links to various online collections and resources to share with the students on Zoom during their first class meetings, such as the Artstor Digital Library, the Berg Fashion Library, the Ex Libris Collection, and the Fashion Plate Collection. In addition to showing these collections, I also demonstrated how to find ebooks with visual content using keywords such as “illustrated history” or “field guide”.
It was important for everyone to maintain some way of exhibiting these works and the inspirational materials they used to create their designs. The decision was made to host the exhibition online and for each piece exhibited, include information about the inspiration, some sketches, and photographs of the resulting piece. As an added benefit, the timing worked out to have the exhibition ready before the start of New York Jewelry Week, so it was instantly available to the jewelry community at large.
Although it was not a requirement this year, a number of students did end up using materials from the Libraries as an inspiration for their works. We look forward to hosting the next Library Adorned Exhibition in the Library in 2021 (we hope!), but in the meantime, you can explore the show Library Adorned: Pandemic Edition curated by Shauna Burke, Mary Beth Rozkewicz, and Katrin Zimmermann online and view some of the Library inspired pieces below:
Cuff by Anajani Alayo Santos, Senior, Industrial Design - Inspiration image by © Espen Rasmussen / Panos Pictures in the Artstor Digital Library
Cuff by Yifei Xie, Senior, Interior Design - Inspired by the handrail of the staircase in the library stacks
Cuff by Natalie Van Oyen, Sculpture - Inspiration image Bird on a Branch of Berries by Norbertine von Bresslern-Roth, 19th - 20th century, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, from the Artstor Digital Library
Cuff by Julia Mendyk, 4th year Architecture - Inspiration image Ex Libris Diamanti, from the Pratt Institute Libraries' Ex Libris Collection in the Artstor Public Collections
Cuff by Jillian Azroomanian, Senior, Fashion - Inspiration image SBA 4.0v -- Orange Utility Lines by Supremebeing, 2012-2013, Courtesy of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery from the St. Lawrence University: Street Art Graphics in the Artstor Public Collections
Cuff by Lara Darling, Senior, Fashion - Inspiration Images from the Berg Fashion Library