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Vincent was an introspective boy and spent much time observing life and nature around him. He often roamed the Audubon property abutting his parentsí home and here the seed of inspiration for an artistic career may have given birth. He also drew and modeled clay and showed artistic tendencies throughout high school, participating in theatre design and flyers/programs for plays etc., played the saxophone with the school band and sang in the choral society.
A family member and alumnus of The Museum School in Boston recommended that Vincent apply, and it was there that he became enthusiastic about metal and its possibilities. He simultaneously studied Education at Tufts University, graduating with a teaching degree in 1956.
After spending 2 years in the military in Germany, Vincent returned
home for a post-graduate year at The Museum School, receiving a
Traveling Scholarship that enabled him to return to Europe and
specifically Scandinavia, in pursuit of the Danish design
sensibility. Four years teaching art at Brockton High School was
followed by graduate school at RIT, School for American Craftsmen and an MFA in
Silversmithing and Jewelry in 1964. He taught and lectured for three decades
thereafter, mostly at Boston Universityís School for the Arts from 1964 to 1984.
Vincent Ferriniís career in the field of fine craft has spanned fifty years
to date. His commitment to the fine and plastic arts is evident in his drawings,
2-D & 3-D designs and many major works in metal, both hollowware and jewelry.
He was also fortunate in receiving invitations to teach abroad, enjoying guest positions in Great Britain, Australia and Jamaica. In 1974-75, while on sabbatical leave from his post as Associate Professor of Art at Boston University School for the Arts, he traveled to England as a guest of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths (one of the oldest continuous craft guilds in Europe). There he toured as visiting artist and guest lecturer at several schools and colleges, including Sir John Cass College of Art and The Royal College of Art in London. His relationship with the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths culminated with another invitation to London in 1988 to be formally inducted into the Company as a "Fellow", an honor he cherishes.
In 1975, upon returning from sabbatical leave in England, he joined the
faculty of the Boston University Program in Artisanry as an Adjunct Professor in
Design and Metals and remained in that post until 1983. It was also in 1983 that
he was honored to have a major thirty-year retrospective exhibition at The Fuller
Museum of Art in Brockton, MA, whose National Endowment for the Arts grant led
to sponsoring his exhibition. The Fuller also purchased Vincentís unique
sterling and bronze striped tea service for itís permanent collection.
In 1984 he left Boston University to establish the now well-known custom
jewelry studio and gallery, Goldsmiths 3 in Concord, MA. He and his business
partners, John Reynolds and Robert Fairbank, are proud of the fact that they
more than survived for twenty years in the community, even owning their own
historic building in Concord.
Making oneís entire living from oneís craft was one of the oft-stated goals of the Program in Artisanry. This recognition of Vincentís work ethic can be seen in the 2005 Penland Book of Jewelry, where artist Jaime Pelissier acknowledges Vincentís "keen sense of design and business, as well as outstanding craftsmanship." He goes on to say that "Vincent is the freest of us all. His work is motion and fantasy of line, organic, and always changing. He has never been afraid to break the standards. He doesnít follow patterns and is always exploring new approaches with fascinating and sometimes whimsical results."
For Goldsmiths 3ís much celebrated 20th anniversary, Vincent produced a collection of 20 brooches of silver, silver and gold, and high-karat gold with gemstones in colors and textures which were inspired by the "Colors of the Sierra", in reference to the unique colors of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains where Vincent and his wife Heidi had "retired" to be near their children and grandchildren. Here they enjoyed designing a unique house and studios up high on a ridge with splendid views, which continued to inspire their art.
As an example, Vincentís three "Manzanita Boxes" in sterling and agate, mounted on a brushed stainless-steel tray were inspired by the form and smooth bark texture of the Manzanita, an ubiquitous native shrub. Newly apparent was his willingness to allow quite literal organic influences, such as leaf forms, to appear in his work.
Vincentís jewelry and sterling hollowware have been exhibited widely both at home and abroad. He is the recipient of numerous awards for design and excellence in craftsmanship and his works reside in private and public collections. He has always enjoyed doing unique commissions, willingly incorporating his clientís ideas and fantasies with his own.
Ever mindful of the value of experience and from a desire to "give something back", Vincent, in 2002, accepted a seat on the Board of Directors of the Central Sierra Arts Council which fosters the visual arts, the hand-crafted arts, music and theater for Sonora and Tuolumne County, California.
On the move again, in 2004, Vincent and Heidi with daughter Nicola, her husband Peter Schifrin and their three children bought a lovely farm not far from San Francisco. The closer proximity to more urban activities coupled with more than adequate studio buildings for this family of artists is proving to be close to ideal. Additionally, their son Martin, with daughter Lola, lives nearby in Petaluma, providing further justification for the move.
An example of the kind of interaction made possible by residing closer to an urban center is a lecture Vincent gave as part of the Guest Artist Series at the San Francisco Academy of Art University, School of Fine Art and Sculpture. His lecture and discussion in March of 2007 was entitled "Living and Creating in the World as a Metalsmith." The students were particularly interested in the wide variety of jewelry and sculptural metals pieces Vincent and the other principals of Goldsmiths 3 created over a period of more than twenty years. By popular request from the students, Vincent was invited back to conduct a 4-day intensive workshop of seaming and raising techniques.
In the fall of 2011, Vincent exhibited in a scholarly show called "Crafting Modernism: Mid-Century American Art and Design" at the Museum of Art and Design in New York, followed by further exposure at the Memorial Art Gallery at Rochester Institute of Technology. The exhibition was primarily about the American Studio Movement from post World War II to 1969, and provided insight into the explosive emergence of craft media, which ultimately led to the recognition of its place alongside the "fine arts".
In the spring of 2012, Vincent was re-united with his "masterpiece" (the
final work supporting his thesis on "Enameling on Silver") that mysteriously
disappeared from RIT for 48 years. He was stunned to have found the silver
compote, embellished with champleve enamel medallions around its base, with a
plique-a-jour finial on the lid again after so many years. Perhaps its
re-appearance symbolizes the "coming full circle" of Vincentís long and fruitful
career and is a reminder that good design and craftsmanship is enduring.
These days, one finds Vincent involved in gardening and overseeing the myriad
tasks associated with living on a compound (harvesting abundant fruit trees, as
well as olive trees, planting, pruning). He has also begun a series of colored
pencil drawings of natural shapes that surround him in such a bucolic setting,
including leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds, all selected for their unusual
textures or colors. The warmth of family, children and grandchildren, surround
him with love as he reciprocates with the sage words and deeds of a
compassionate Italian "padrone."
Article by Heidi Ferrini
of Heidi Ferrini
comments are invited.
© copyright MODERN SILVER magazine, 2013