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Part II:
Continuing the Exploration of Form


Exploration of depth: Pods

Daniel Macchiarini continues the exploration of depth begun many years ago, in the 1930s, by his father Peter Macchiarini whose San Francisco studio was a center of intellectual dialog. Peter had long discussions with sculptor, Beniamino Bufano about form.  Bufano considered the egg to be "natures most exquisite sculptural form."  Peter said that "you must start with the idea of the egg, yes, but the real journey of discovery is what is inside the egg." In his continual search for what is inside the egg (the exploration of depth), Peter created multi-layered creations called "pods."  Although Daniel continues to create pod forms based on his father's original ideas, he brings them into the 21st century by using contemporary materials, creating new patinas, and adding black pearls.

The work on the pods I do is new in that I am exploring more colors than my father did.  This is seen in adding "Black Pearls" and effecting different shades of patinas internal to them.  The big wall pod sculpture adds luminescent Plastic and hidden rope light in it to effect a subtle fiber optic radiance at night or in a darkened room.1

"Conception, Inside the Egg," wall piece by Daniel Macchiarini
copper, mild steel, and bronze inlaid with  iridescent "Hot Plastic," inset (out of view) is a length of 110v "rope" light.


Multi-layered pod brooch by Daniel Macchiarini
 bronze, copper, and nickel silver with black pearl.

Exploration of Spatial Relationships:  Dots

Peter Macchiarini explored spatial relationships through his "Dot Matrix" design concept. Peter explained the concept in this way, " The size of the dots in the design field create depth and spatial relationships.  In actuality all the dots are the same size but are at different distances from the viewer's eyes. This is the same as stargazing where a certain bright star may look closer but in actuality a smaller less bright one might be the same size but further away. The designs I have made where lines are integrated into the dots create a more unified entity within a given design field." 

Daniel Macchiarini's designs for his unique dot bracelets, rings, earrings, etc., expand and amplify his father's "Dot Matrix" design concept.

The new dot effects with line and integrated combination of ebony and ivory fields are meant to draw the wearer and viewer into the piece for seeing "new" things in the design again and again.  This keeps one in a state of discovery when looking at the work.  Again this goes way beyond what my father did with the dots in his original 1950's designs.  Even his later work did not have the secondary inlays of circled fields of ebony and ivory nor the lines cutting the field in the way I have evolve the design at this time.2
Daniel Macchiarini is also an expert at a constantly evolving area of exploration--the creation of double-sided, reversible jewelry. This exploration is especially notable in his dot bracelets that have extraordinarily intricate designs--different, but equally spectacular, on both sides.

Reversible Dot Bracelet
 by Daniel Macchiarini, ca. 2003
ebony, ivory, sterling silver back, with brass framing and inlaid copper, silver, and bronze


Kinetic "Pizza Cutter" earrings
 by Daniel Macchiarini
ivory, inlaid ebony, silver, copper, and brass

Oval-shaped, curved dot ring
 by Daniel Macchiarini
silver, ebony, ivory, brass, and copper.


Exploration of Light:  Opticuts

Like Margaret De Patta, Peter Macchiarini used San Francisco lapidary Francis Sperisen to create unique cuts for the stones he used in his jewelry.  The "Opticut," originated with De Patta and Peter Macchiarini, and was also used by Florence Resnikoff. Daniel Macchiarini has taken that one step farther to create a breakthrough cut called a double opticut.

The new spiral opt cut grew out of the desire to bring my fathers "opt"  cut back into the world when I found the original design notes for them after my fathers death in 2002.  This cut had not been created in 40 years.  Margaret De Patta experimented with this cut too, she called it an "opticut" and mounted it on a "Barrel" frame.  Florence Resnikoff  also used this style.  My father's was unique in that it was put on "saddle" frame.  The original Lapidary who cut this design into rutilated quartz was France J. Sperisen and Son located in the Pheland Building in San Francisco. Tragically, the elder died in the 1960's and the son was murdered in the early 1970's.  Since then, my father was unable to find anyone with the skill to cut the saddle design.  I did find someone, but thought that the though the "saddle" frame was interesting, I wanted to try to create the opt effect on a circular frame.  I began drawing it and playing with the top being based on a "beehive" cut my father also created in the 1970's.  Instead of flattening it on the bottom like he did, I began to have my new lapidary cutter cut opposing lines underneath it.  After many tries we had a 'breakthrough" in that the piece not only visually opted but also spiraled-- a double opticut effect as the wearer moves.3


Reversible pendant by Daniel Macchiarini
 opticut rutilated quartz on saddle frame
 silver, gold, moonstone, brass, and Australian turquoise.

Below are Daniel Macchiarini's definitions of  Modernism, Post Modernism and "Neo-Modernism":
“Jackson Polack is somewhere toward the end of Modernism, Jasper Johns is somewhere at the beginning of “Post Modernism, Picasso and Matisse are the heart of Modernism.  Postmodernism doesn't have a heart, we think....”

From Matthew Collins "This is Modern Art."

MODERNISM                               POSTMODERNISM
1.)    Form (conjunctive/closed)    Antiform (disjunctive, open)
2.)    Design                                    Chance
3.)    Art Object/Finished Work     Process/Performance/Happening
4.)    Creation/Totalization            Decreation/Deconstruction
5.)    Centering                               Dispersal
6.)    Selection                                Combination

Ihab Hassan  Literary Theorist


1.) ReForm  (conjunctive,disjunctive,transjunctive)

2.) Design Objective yet Mutable in Process

3.) Art Object/Finished Work but could be inclusive of Installation and Performance events as part of creation creative process

4.) ReCreation views deconstruction as part of process of achieving

5.) ReCentering fights alienation and Dispersal as it exists and seeks to refocus human creative consciousness on design and form

6.) Selection/judgment but open to collaboration to advance design.4

Daniel Macchiarini4
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Part 1: Continuing Exploration:
The Opening of Macchiarini Creative Design and Metalworks Gallery
(please click here)


1-4Daniel Macchiarini, email, November 2005

Article by Marbeth Schon

Photos by Marbeth Schon and courtesy Daniel Macchiarini
Web design by Marbeth Schon
 Copyright ©  Modern Silver magazine 2005
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