Silicon Valley Open Studios

Connecting artists to art enthusiasts

Artist: Barbara M. Berk

Studio: Barbara Berk Designs, LLC   Room: 33

Lace Two:  Not a Bow
Title: Lace Two: Not a Bow
Description: Stainless Steel: Bobbin Lace
Media: Sculpture
Size: 23 x 16 x 13
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Contact Barbara M. Berk



Phone:(650) 281-6534

About Barbara M. Berk

My journey has been circuitous: a childhood love of fabric and sewing; a Master’s Degree in Russian History; 15+ years in magazine publishing. My introduction to antique jewelry led to studies in gemology and bench techniques – and the discovery that my true passion is working with the metal itself. I learned that metal can be worked like fiber, that sheet and wire can be woven. Most exciting for me was the realization that sculpture can be fashioned from the metal “fabric” I create.

My work explores the interplay of traditional textile techniques & structures – with industrial metals – with classical metalsmithing techniques – with traditional tools & modern equipment.

I start by weaving or making lace with wire by hand. I work flat, straight, off loom. I then coax the flat “fabric” into a 3-dimensional form. Smaller metal ribbons, ruffles, spirals and loops become wearable sculptures for the body. Larger elements become hanging, wall-mounted or free-standing sculptures.

Textile techniques enable me to play with line, pattern, texture and touch. The patterns are simple, the lines are fluid, the forms organic. Interlaced together, Process, Material and Form reveal new perspectives on transparency; movement; positive and negative space; reflections and shadows.

My work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Museum of the Gemological Institute of America. It has been exhibited in museums and shows across the US including Fiber Art VII (Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol, CA, 2015), Sculpture: On and Off the Wall (Peninsula Sculptors’ Guild at the Coastal Arts League, Half Moon Bay, CA, 2015), LOOT! 2011: Mad About Jewelry (Museum of Arts & Design, New York, NY), New West Coast Design: Jewelry + Metalwork (Velvet daVinci Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2008), and at various SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art) Expositions and American Craft Council shows.

My wearable sculptures have been featured in many publications, including Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Textile Artists and Sculptors by Arline Fisch, in addition to many magazines including Ornament and Metalsmith. I am the author of “Textile Techniques in Metal: A Designer’s Perspective on Sheet and Wire” Parts I and II, presented at the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry Manufacturing (2004 and 2006, respectively) and published in the Symposiums’ Proceedings.

I teach workshops and classes in my studio at the Peninsula Museum of Art/Museum Studios, 1777 California Drive, Burlingame, CA.