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Oral history interview with Arline M. Fisch

Interviewee:
Fisch, Arline M.  Search this
Interviewer:
Church, Sharon, 1948-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Faculty  Search this
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts -- Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Skidmore College -- Faculty  Search this
Skidmore College -- Students  Search this
Wheaton College (Ill.) -- Faculty  Search this
Adamson, Glenn  Search this
Extent:
61 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2001 July 29-30
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Arline M. Fisch conducted 2001 July 29-30, by Sharon Church McNabb, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Fisch's home, in San Diego, California.
Biographical / Historical:
Arline M. Fisch (1931-) is a metalsmith from San Diego, California. Sharon Church McNabb (1948-) is a jewelry designer.
General:
Originally recorded on 6 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 12 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 13 min.
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.
Occupation:
Metal-workers -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Jewelers -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Educators -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Fulbright scholars  Search this
Topic:
Art and religion  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Knitting  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Jewelry making -- Technique  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Women textile artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.fisch01
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-fisch01
Online Media:

Margaret De Patta papers

Creator:
De Patta, Margaret, 1903-1964  Search this
Names:
California College of Arts and Crafts (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
California Labor School  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Nanny's Design Gallery  Search this
Oregon State System of Higher Education  Search this
San Francisco Metal Arts Guild  Search this
Barson, Fred  Search this
Bielawski, Eugene  Search this
Davis, Adelle  Search this
Designs Contemporary  Search this
Fleisher, Janet  Search this
Flory, Alice  Search this
McHendrie, Janet  Search this
Ries, Victor, 1907-  Search this
Untracht, Oppi  Search this
Extent:
2.7 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Designs
Drawings
Date:
circa 1930-2012
Summary:
The papers of California jewelry designer Margaret De Patta measure 2.7 linear feet and date from circa 1930 to 2012. The papers include correspondence, writings, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of California jewelry designer Margaret De Patta measure 2.7 linear feet and date from circa 1930 to 2012. The papers include correspondence, writings, teaching files, exhibition files, personal business records, printed material, artwork and sketchbooks, and photographs.

Personal and professional correspondence is with family, friends, artists, galleries, museums, and universities. Notable correspondents include Fred Barson, Adelle Davis, Janet Fleisher, Alice Flory, Janet McHendrie, Victor Ries, Oppi Untracht, and Nanny's Design Gallery.

Writings include essays, personal statements, and notes. There is also an outline for a book on design and an annotated calendar.

Teaching files consist of course materials, administrative records, meeting minutes, and limited correspondence from the California Labor School. There are also a few folders from the California College of Arts and Crafts and the Oregon State System of Higher Education.

Exhibition files include announcements, correspondence, inventories, price lists, loan forms, and other material for Margaret De Patta shows at museums and galleries.

Personal business records consist of financial, legal, and administrative records on Margaret De Patta's jewelry designs and sales, as well as material related to Designs Contemporary, the jewelry production business created and managed by De Patta and her husband Eugene Bielawski. There is also material on large gifts and loans to museums and universities, and files relating to the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild.

Printed materials are mostly clippings about Margaret De Patta and other subjects, along with a few magazines and periodicals, including the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild newsletters, 1952-1964.

There is one sketchbook and several folders of drawings, jewelry designs, and flatware designs.

The bulk of the photographs are of jewelry and other objects designed by Margaret De Patta. There are a few photographs of Margaret De Patta working on jewelry and other subjects, such as a trip to Japan and her house on Laidley Street in California.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged as 8 series.

Missing Title

Series 1: Correspondence, 1946-2011 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Writings, circa 1935-1963 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Teaching Files, 1944-1969 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1948-2012 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1943-2001 (0.9 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1938-1981 (0.1 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 7: Artwork and Sketchbook, circa 1930-circa 1960 (0.2 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 8: Photographs, circa 1935-1967 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 3-4, OV 5)
Biographical / Historical:
San Francisco contemporary jewelry designer Margaret De Patta, née Strong, was born in Tacoma, Washington in 1903 and raised in San Diego, California. She was among the first contemporary studio jewelers and a proponent of modernism. De Patta studied painting at the San Diego Academy of Fine Arts from 1921-1923, the California School of Fine Arts from 1923-1925, and the New York Art Students League from 1926-1929.

Margaret De Patta began to create jewelry when she designed her own modernist wedding ring for her marriage to Sam De Patta in 1929. By the mid-1930s, she had become an accomplished jeweler whose work was frequently shown in galleries and museums. Her jewelry was featured in the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. Around 1939, De Patta also started collaborating with Francis Sperisen, a noted San Francisco lapidary. De Patta designed the shapes of the jewelry using Lucite and wood, and Sperisen would use her models as a reference for the actual gem cutting.

From 1940-1941, De Patta attended the Chicago Bauhaus (now the Institute of Design) where she studied under Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. De Patta's time at the school was formative and Moholy-Nagy was tremendously impressed with her work. She also met her future second husband Gene Bielawski while she was a student in Chicago.

In 1941, De Patta returned to San Francisco, divorced Sam De Patta, and renovated her Laidley Street house in Glen Park. In 1946, she married Eugene Bielawski. The couple taught at the California Labor School. They also moved to Napa and founded Designs Contemporary, a business for producing jewelry that was as high quality as De Patta's handcrafted pieces at more affordable prices. Since all aspects of the business were conducted by the two of them, the workload became overwhelming and Designs Contemporary closed in 1957.

In 1951, Margaret De Patta was a founding member of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild, established to promote the metal arts and specifically address the unique needs of studio jewelers. During her lifetime, she befriended many artists and continued to create jewelry, teach, and lecture. De Patta committed suicide in 1964. Her innovative jewelry designs continue to be influential today.
Provenance:
The Margaret De Patta papers were donated in two installments in 2003 and 2015 by Martha Bielawski, the second wife of Margaret De Patta's second husband, Eugene Bielawski. These papers were collected as part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Jewelers -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Educators -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Topic:
Women artists  Search this
Women designers  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Sketchbooks
Designs
Drawings
Citation:
Margaret De Patta papers, circa 1930-2012. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.depamarg
See more items in:
Margaret De Patta papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-depamarg
Online Media:

Arline M. Fisch papers

Creator:
Fisch, Arline M.  Search this
Names:
American Craftsmen's Council  Search this
Boston University  Search this
Electrum (Gallery : London, England)  Search this
Internationale Handwerksmesse  Search this
Lee Nordness Galleries  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
National Endowment for the Arts  Search this
San Diego State University -- Faculty  Search this
Skidmore College  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
World Crafts Council  Search this
Antunes, Edith  Search this
Extent:
9.8 Linear feet
3.82 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Photographs
Video recordings
Date:
1931-2015
Summary:
The papers of metalsmith, jeweler, and educator Arline M. Fisch measure 9.8 linear feet and 3.82 GB date from 1931 to 2015. The papers include awards and certificates, correspondence, exhibition and gallery files, project files, San Diego State University teaching files, membership records, and printed and digital and photographic materials.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of metalsmith, jeweler, and educator Arline M. Fisch measure 9.8 linear feet and 3.82 GB and date from 1931 to 2015. The papers include awards and certificates, correspondence, exhibition and gallery files, project files, San Diego State University teaching files, membership records, and printed and and digital photographic materials.

Awards and certificates are from the Indonesian National Crafts Council, Internationale Handwerksmesse Munchen, San Diego State University, State of California, and other organizations. Correspondence is with Edith Antunes, Skidmore College and other educational institutions, as well as galleries, students, and colleagues. Files for exhibitions consist of inventory and price lists, loan and shipping records, printed material, correspondence, a digital disk, and a video recording for Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch (2000), The Art of Arline Fisch (2003), Arline Fisch: Creatures from the Deep (2008), and various exhibitions.

Gallery files contain business records for Atrium, Electrum Gallery, Lee Nordness Galleries, and galleries in Germany and Switzerland. Project files include records for an advertising campaign, articles and lectures, Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Sculptors, and Textile Artists, a cataloging project, commercial ventures, curriculum development at Boston University, NEA and Fulbright grant projects, an artwork installation, an oral history project, a seminar, and workshops.

San Diego State University teaching files include correspondence, evaluations, exhibition material, grant programs and projects, university programs, recommendations, and sabbatical records. Membership records are for the American Craftsmen's Council (ACC), Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), and World Crafts Council (WCC).

Printed materials consist of booklets, a calendar, clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, periodicals and posters, and chronological files. Photographic materials are of Fisch, her family, travel, her studio, with colleagues and in class, and works of art. A detailed archive of Fisch's work on slides and in digital format is also included.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as nine series.

Series 1: Awards and Certificates, 1961-2001 (0.3 linear feet; Boxes 1, 11)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1956-2003 (0.8 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1957-2010 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 4: Gallery Files, 1968-2010 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 5: Project Files, 1956-2010 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 3-4, 11)

Series 6: San Diego State University, 1955-2014 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)

Series 7: Membership Records, 1964-1994 (1.0 linear feet; Boxes 5-6)

Series 8: Printed Materials, circa 1960-2015 (3.3 linear feet; Boxes 6-9, 11, OV 12)

Series 9: Photographic Materials, 1931-circa 2005 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 9-11, 3.82 GB; ER01)
Biographical / Historical:
Arline M. Fisch (1931- ) is a metalsmith, jeweler, and educator in San Diego, California.

Fisch was born in Brooklyn, New York. She studied art education at Skidmore College and earned a master of arts degree from the University of Illinois. From 1956 to 1957 she studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen Denmark, and she returned to Denmark in 1966 under a Fulbright Research Grant. She also received Fulbright and NEA grants for multiple projects in Uruguay, Austria, and the U.S.

From 1954 to 1961, she taught at Wheaton College and Skidmore College. Fisch began teaching at San Diego State University (SDSU) in 1961 where she developed the Jewelry and Metalsmithing program. She retired from SDSU in 2000.

Fisch was a member of the American Craft Council (ACC), Haystack Mountain School of Crafts' Board of Trustees, and was vice president of the World Crafts Council (WCC) from 1976 to 1981. She was a founding member of Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and was president of the organization from 1982 to 1985.

Fisch has received numerous awards and honors for her accomplishments in craftsmanship including an honorary doctorate degree from Skidmore College, United States Artists fellowship award, and Fresno Art Museum Council of 100 Distinguished Woman Artist award in 2012. Fisch has exhibited her work all over the world including her solo retrospective exhibition titled, Elegant Fantasy: The Jewelry of Arline Fisch, which was shown in San Diego, Oakland, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Related Materials:
Also at the Archives of American Art is an interview of Arline M. Fisch conducted July 29-30, 2001 by Sharon Church McNabb, for the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Fisch's home, in San Diego, California.
Provenance:
The papers were donated from 2003 to 2018 by Arline M. Fisch as a part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings and born-digital records with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Rights:
Arline M. Fisch retains copyright for the manuscript for the 2nd edition of her book Textile Techniques in Metal for Jewelers, Sculptors, and Textile Artists (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, c. 1975) and notes for the first edition.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Metal-workers -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Jewelers -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Educators -- California -- San Diego  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Video recordings
Citation:
Arline M. Fisch papers, 1931-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.fiscarli
See more items in:
Arline M. Fisch papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-fiscarli

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