A Benefactor To A Goldsmith – Barbara Jardine

When a benefactor for the Arts, and an Artist respect each other, and a miracle happens, even here in Trinidad and Tobago

It is not too often when you come across a local publication that it is well designed incorporating colour photographs that are reproduced accurately. And when you hear people say, “Why would anyone buy a book on Jewellery?” then change their mind after opening it… That says it all. Here is such a book.

As a rule, colour reproductions in locally printed annual reports, glossy magazines or books are generally dark, or even worse, muddy and misaligned. This is the result of laziness. So praise is given where sacrifice is seen. “Goldsmith” is a book filled with clean, precise colour plates reflecting on a subject that deserves attention for its minuscule details – The art of Jewellery.

Barbara Jardine is the lucky recipient of the product, entitled “Barbara Jardine, Goldsmith” and the benefactor is Bobby Campbell, from the publishers, Robert and Christopher. Mr. Campbell took a gamble and succeeded with one of the finest coffee table books printed in Trinidad and Tobago, and he had the incentive to have the photographer document one of Ms. Jardine’s prized pieces, “The Warrior,” at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection in London. The genesis of the project came about during Ms. Jardine’s group exhibition, Flux and Fire held at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago in 2005. The Museum’s catalogue showed elements of her work, and it was important to expand on the jeweller’s repertoire of three decades of the craft. Goldsmith offers a privy to her personal life, and the works produced as a result. (below: “The Warrior”)

And by the rules of knowing how to avoid the ticklish obstacles from Artists when it comes to dealing with their art, the publishers wisely limited her in any of the decision making, other than the 75 hours she spent with the graphic artist correcting the photographs. It helped the jeweller to focus on the accuracy of the selected pieces, and for the publisher to focus on the book. A sacrifice of time resulting in the envy of the good kind, and the recognition most artist dream for…not as a small catalogue, but a hefty hardcover glossy 140 page book…and better yet, the book was fully financed by the publishers.

This is the first of a series of Art books that are highlighting female artisans in Trinidad and Tobago, and the reasoning behind this, Mr. Campbell laments, is that they are generally overshadowed by their male counterpart, and it is time to recognise the contributions of artists like Ms. Jardine, the first of three to come.

So the jinx is over, and it is possible that quality exists in Trinidad and Tobago, once you give it to the hands of professionals who care about the importance of it, and to forgive the minor inconsistencies in one or two of the colour plates… more like a loose thread from a garment, the book is pefect so far. There is no doubt, that local male artists may physically change their gender to have the opportunity, as with Barbara Jardine, to have in their hands, a finely published book of their own.

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