form and concept’s first annual “Macrocosm” group exhibition that opens at 5 p.m. on November 30 includes oversized jewelry made out of clay and metals that are produced by the partnership of Steven Ford and David Forlano.
Approximately eight brooches, pins, earrings and necklaces created by Ford/Forlano are part of an exhibition that also features work by Debra Baxter, Kat Cole, Robert Ebendorf, Bunny Tobias and Robin Waynee.
“Our artistic collaboration began in 1984 when we met in Rome during a year abroad program through Tyler School of Art,” explains Forlano, who lives in Santa Fe and works long distance with Ford, whose studio is based in Philadelphia.
“We liked how our (artistic) differences challenged our individual thinking. To learn from each other, we started trading half-finished drawings and paintings, working both of our individual ideas into them. This swapping has become an essential element to our collaboration.”
Throughout their collaboration that’s completely focused on jewelry, Ford and Forlano have been inspired by nature and forms including seed clusters, shell formations and flower buds. Their pieces, which are made out of polymer clay and other materials such as sterling silver, gold leaf and paper, are traded back and forth between Santa Fe and Philadelphia on a regular basis.
If a piece needs to start with sterling silver, the men ask one of their silversmiths to do the metal work for them. Ford, for example, will take the silver foundation and add colored clay to it before sending the piece to Forlano, who adds more clay and expands the design. Their fundamental rule is clear: it’s fine to make changes to each other’s work.
“We’ve been collaborating for 30 years, so we know the aesthetic we’re looking for,” says Forlano. “No one takes the changes that are made to each other’s work personally.”
In fact, the exhilarating part of the collaboration is when one partner sees a piece in a different way and ends up expanding the vision of the other.
“It’s exciting to get packages from each other because we can see what the other person has done to the design,” Forlano adds.