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Oral history interview with Margret Craver Withers, 1983-1985

view Oral history interview with Margret Craver Withers, 1983-1985 digital asset number 1
Interviewee:
Withers, Margret Craver, 1907-2010
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.
Subject:
Fleming, Erik
Heinrich, Leonard
Kirk, Arthur Neville
Stone, Arthur
Weir, Wilson
Withers, Charles C.
Handy & Harman (Firm)
Place of publication, production, or execution:
United States
Physical Description:
5 sound cassettes (9 1/2 hrs.) : analog + 37 col. slides.
General Note:
Originally recorded on 5 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 58 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Use requires an appointment.
Summary:
An interview of Margret Craver Withers conducted 1983-1985, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Withers discusses her childhood in Kansas; early education; and aptitude for drawing.
Education in art and design, including studying crafts at the University of Kansas, 1925-29; her position as a grade school teacher in Kansas and as a crafts instructor at Wichita Art Association, 1930s; study with various master metalworkers, including Arthur Nevill Kirk, Arthur J. Stone, Leonard Heinrich and Wilson Weir in the USA, and Baron Erik Fleming in Sweden.
Development of Hospital Service Program, with the support of Handy and Harman, precious metal refiners, during World War II, to train army therapists in metalworking for disabled soldiers; supervision in post-War period of Handy and Harman's Craft Service Department, producing films on hand-wrought silver, a traveling exhibition of outstanding contemporary silver, instructional brochures, and a series of workshops for American silversmiths, taught by European masters.
Marriage in 1950 to Charles Withers, president of Towle Silver, and that company's policy of employing top designers; Towle's commissioning of works in silver from top modern sculptors; her making of silver holloware and jewelry for private clients; her re-invention of the en resille process for enameling (1959) and in the early 1980s her invention of a process for combining enamel, glass, and silver and gold leaf in jewelry; and her involvement in crafts organizations.
She discusses her en resille enameling technique. [This session is transcribed, and is accompanied by slides of the work discussed].
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Margret Craver Withers, 1983-1985. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding:
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Biography Note:
Margret Craver Withers (1907-2010) was a silversmith in Boston, Massachusetts.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Topic:
Art metal workers
Decorative arts
Enamel and enameling
Interviews
Jewelers
Silversmiths
Silverwork
Sound recordings
Women artists
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12686
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)216021
AAA_collcode_wither83
Theme:
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art

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