Arts Beat: Etruscan Jewelry Demonstrated

February 23, 2009  

Ellen Buie Niewyk demonstrated how the Etruscans made jewelry out of a small silver ingot at the Meadows Museum at SMU. The Thursday night lecture, “Taking the mystery out of ancient metal techniques,” was presented in synergy with the current exhibit From the Temple and the Tomb: Etruscan Treasures from Tuscany sheets

From an anthropological perspective, it was something interesting to witness. Niewyk showed her audience how to form silver ingots into flat sheets with different techniques. She also explained the intricate techniques of granulation, which is a process used by metalsmiths to decorate a base of metal by attaching small metal spheres to the surface.

The demonstration was interesting, and I have never seen someone make jewelry before, but what intrigued me the most was the way she presented everything.

“We are going high-tech to showing low-tech techniques,” Niewyk said.

They were streaming live videos of the demonstration, providing pictures, and showing a PowerPoint presentation.

Everyone, including the people in the back row, was able to see every move Niewyk made with the thin wires. She showed the audience how to make the Etruscan braid out of wire, which turns out to be just an illusion.

Her high-tech ways provided new ways of presenting art. It was worth seeing, even if I didn’t know anything about the Etruscan civilization.

Posted by Laura Vasquez

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