April 10, 2018

Olaf Skoogfors was born in Sweden in 1930. Early in his childhood, he moved to the United States with his family, settling in Philadelphia, PA. His father was a mechanical engineer, but Olaf wanted to make things with his hands.

In 1959 he opened his own studio in Philadelphia as an independent jewelry artist. One of his favorite techniques was the lost-wax technique, but he also liked to create directly on the metal.

He also used fusing, reticulation, and chasing, which are exemplified in the cuff bracelet presented below. What I find so amazing about it is that it is a hollow piece. It is also heavy and weighs almost 1.5 dwt oz or 45 grams.

The challenge of creating a dimensional hollow piece comes from the fusing or soldering of the parts together. The air inside is heated by the torch and if there is no escape, the item will deform and in some extreme cases, explode.

There is no visible escape point on this hollow bracelet. It also has a smooth portion angled into a very refined textured area, increasing the visual volume and adding interest to the piece. The inside surface is chased in a tree bark-like pattern.

Olaf Skoogfors led a distinguished career as a metalsmith. He taught at Temple University and had many exhibitions. Skoogfors passed away in 1975 at the early age of 45. His work is quite rare and very sought after.


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