Cradle of liberty, cradle of craft

Doug Bucci
Doug Bucci was raised in Mount Holly, New Jersey, where he used the materials in his grandfather's metal shop to make the sorts of weapons found in a boy's fantasy.12 Growing up across the river from Philadelphia, he treated the Philadelphia Museum of Art as his personal playground. At the University of the Arts he initially studied painting but was lured away by the attractions of jewelry and metalsmithing. He continued his studies at the Tyler School of Art, from which he received an MFA in 1998.

Doug Bucci (1971-) in the classroom as a visiting artist at Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2012. Photograph by Phil Renato.

As a young maker, Bucci was passionate about the work of two Bay Area funk jewelry makers, Ken Cory (1943-1994) and Don Thompkins (1933-1982). In the summer of 2000, as he was doing some reading about Cory and Thompkins, he learned that they were both diabetic and that both had succumbed to the disease. This struck home for Bucci, also a diabetic, and prompted him to address the disease in his work. "I am a diabetic, an educator and an artist. I work in the medium of jewelry. I can always escape from teaching or making, but what I could not escape was the reality of what I was and that it defined me," he says.

Islet/White neckpiece by Bucci, 2012. Selective laser sintering (glass-filled nylon) and silver; length 20 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, purchased with funds contributed by the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In his Wounds series Bucci explores the toll that diabetes takes on various parts of the human body with brooches in the form of bloodied feet and toes. His Islet series, constructed of a hexagonal, honeycomb-like structure created by computer-aided design represents the cell shape of diabetes mellitus, a severe form of diabetes. Aware that jewelry is an age-old communicator between wearer and spectator, Bucci uses his designs to publicize the physical state of diabetes and the fight against its deadly consequences. ERA

by Émile Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), 1926. Macassar ebony, amaranth, and ivory. Metropolitan Museum of Art. By Cynthia Drayton

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