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The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf

The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf

February 21, 2009 – May 17, 2009

Mint Museum of Craft + Design


Deliverance from a Gilded Cage, 1994

Pins: Sterling silver, brass, 14ky gold, Micarta, 3” x 1 ¼”

Stage: Painted wood, 8 ½” x 7 ¾” x 1 ¼”

Collection of Nan Schaffer



The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf is the the first exhibition and first major monograph with a retrospective view of the artist’s work. Featuring approximately sixty pieces dating from the 1970s to the present, the exhibition conceptualizes Metcalf’s work in relationship to his interest in architecture, the comics, and the narrative. It examines the social, moral, and political issues that Metcalf has raised in published essays about the handmade and that are acted out by his rueful bigheaded and vulnerable protagonists on miniature stages. In their dual life as wearable brooches, they venture into the world, where they engage the unsuspecting viewer with their stories and distinctive visual language.


Organized by Palo Alto Art Center, Division of Arts and Sciences, City of Palo Alto, Palo Alto, California.


This exhibition has been made possible through the support of the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation; Rotasa Foundation, Windgate Charitable Foundation, the Arts Council Silicon Valley; and private contributions. Sponsored by The Founders' Circle Ltd., the national support affiliate of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. A full color catalog accompanies the exhibition.



The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf page on the Mint Museum website








About the Artist 

  • Bruce Metcalf's website has numerous images of his work presented chronologically, and his blog.


  • In 1996, Metcalf was awarded a Pew Fellowship which is designed to "provide financial support directly to the artists so that they may have the opportunity to dedicate themselves to creative pursuits exclusively.
  • Charon Kransen artists page on Bruce Metcalf shows recent work and an artist statement.



Essays and Multimedia 

  • Metcalf describes himself as a "studio jeweler and writer." Here is a link to some of Metcalf's writings from his website. Two of his influential essays on craft are also linked below.








Selected Resources In The Mint Museum Library 

  • Brooching it Diplomatically: a Tribute to Madeleine Albright. Philadelphia: Helen Drutt - Philadelphia, 1998. Includes work by Metcalf and a wide range of jewelry artists.
  • Fariello, M. Anna. Objects and Meaning: New Perspectives on Art and Craft. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2004. Contains Metcalf's essay "Evolutionary Biology and its Implications for Craft."
  • Metcalf, Bruce. The Miniature Worlds of Bruce Metcalf: September 28 - December 21, 2008. Palo Alto: Palo Alto Art Center, [2008] . The catalogue accompanying the exhibition. 
  • Neocraft: Modernity and the Crafts. Halifax, NS: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 2007. Metcalf contributed to this collection of  "scholarly essays that explore the historical, contemporary, and future positioning of the crafts within the broader scope of visual culture."





Created by Joe Eshleman, Library Assistant for The Mint Museum