Have you ever come across a Fabergé egg? Most people who’ve traveled to Russia and other places around the world have at least heard of the famous egg jewelry sculptures. Fabergé was actually the name of a person who founded the jewelry firm The House of Fabergé, although many describe their works as sculptural forms over wearable jewelry. Gustav Fabergé was the founder of this design company and was followed by his son Peter Carl Fabergé. They were famous for designing the well-known jewel-encrusted Fabergé eggs for Russian Tsars and were nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1918. To the disdain of many art followers, the name Fabergé was eventually sold off and re-sold again to various people and companies who expanded into cosmetics, clothing lines and colognes.
Moscow Kremlin Egg – Photography by Stan Shebs
The historical beauty of the Fabergé egg remains as a landmark artifact in Russian and international society today. The imperial eggs actually started when the Tsar Alexander III commissioned the house of Fabergé to create an Easter egg masterpiece for his wife. The original Fabergé egg that was made back then in 1885 was encrusted in gold with miniature pieces of jewelry inside, such as a gold yolk with a gold chicken that opens to reveal a replica of the imperial crown with a ruby egg. Carl Fabergé was commissioned over and over again as a tradition each year with the noble family. A total of fifty two eggs were made for Alexander III and Nicholas II’s gifts.
Wire sculpture isn’t a new technological development or anything, it’s been around for hunreds of years. With so many various applications in technology, fashion and other fields, the manipulation of wire contours vastly outnumbers its applications singularly for art. Today though, many new designers seek to create a new way of representing this media within the world of sculpture. One vividly illustrative way is the application of wire sculpture into jewelry. Jewelry based on wire mesh, string-type or flat-type is a fairly common sight at trade fairs, competitions and even exhibitions. Modern styles dictate that the usage of stand-alone wire designs are much more accepted today than they were in the previous decades. These days, the trends go for a highly metal or silvery tone, bypassing the absolute rule of traditional gem and gold-based jewelers.
At this point, wire sculpture has also made its way into original figurative art pieces. Several personalities create wire figures by coiling or meshing a group of wires into the silhouette or exact shape of a subject. In the past, this may have been referred to a building an armature. Armatures are traditionally made to support cast sculptures when in their final phase of completion. Armature were also used as support units for clay modeling (especially with oil based clay.) Wire has outgrown these component functions and evolved into its own artistic media, allowing it to stand alone against a sea of rival materials. The growing number of wire artists just proves even more that any media despite its history, can still rise up and create something truly breathtaking and beautiful.