Luxist Giveaway: Margot van Voorhies--The Art of Mexican Enamelwork
Her story isn't just one of a designer but as a woman of the early 20th century, finding her way as both an entrepreneur and an artist. She was, in many ways ahead of her time, living as an independent woman and making choices that were outside societal norms. In 1937, after the murder of her mother and a divorce, she moved from San Francisco to Mexico. She had previously worked as a cosmetologist but found new work in a photography shop and in 1938 she married Antonio Castillio (who was 20 years her junior) and moved to Taxco. Castillo was a silversmith working for William Spratling and after the marriage, Castillo and his new bride established their own workshop. Influenced by the Mayan aesthetic as well as other regional imagery, van Voorhies created silver jewelry sets that quickly drew attention and business. In 1947, Margot created her own business, Margot de Taxco, where she continued to innovate in silver and champlevé. It was under this new label that she envisioned some of her most elaborate and memorable designs.
At this point the story becomes not only Margot's but also that of the maestro silversmiths she worked with. The author, Dr. Penny Morrill has developed a history of modern Mexican silver through her research, writings, and teaching at George Mason University. She has established the Spratling-Taxco Collection at Tulane University's Latin American Library to further the study of Mexico's silver tradition and innovation and she adeptly navigates the complicated business history of van Voorhies and surrounding businesspeople and artists. Sadly, the story of the Margot de Taxco line does not end well. After a strike by workers in 1974, the business went deeper and deeper into debt and in 1977 Margot went into bankruptcy. Everything was auctioned off. Many of the dies for her designs in silver or enamel were bought by silversmiths Manuel Quinto, Meliccio Rodriquez and Benjamin Santarriaga. Reproduction Margot de Taxco pieces can be found online today. The last chapter of the book highlights contemporary Mexican enamelists, the artistic heirs of the Margot de Taxco legacy.
The book serves both as a biography and an art book. It's a well-researched jewelry history but also contains 485 brilliant photographs and includes an appendix that features the drawings for many of the Margot de Taxco designs. The book sells for $49.99 and can be purchased through the publisher at www.schifferbooks.com as well as at your local bookseller or through online retailers. Today I'm giving away the review copy I received to one reader chosen at random.
* To enter, leave a confirmed comment below.
* The comment must be left and confirmed before February 4, 2011 at 5:00PM Eastern Time.
* You may only enter once.
* One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
* One winner will receive a copy of Margot Van Voorhies: The Art of Mexican Enamelwork which has a retail price of $49.99.
* Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.
See complete giveaway rules here.
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