Drawer hinges, Victorian shoe buckles and religious charms are just some of the materials that have made their way into the work of jewelry designer Arthur Koby.
Forty-eight pieces of his work will be displayed starting today at the Kent State University Museum’s newest exhibit, The Creative Eye.
It is only the third time in the museum’s 28-year history that it has featured jewelry.
Koby’s pieces are not the stuff of standard department store fare. The former architect shied away from pearls, jewels and beads — the typical stuff of necklaces — for offbeat materials that he handcrafts into collages.
He has used hand-carved water buffalo horn, shredded balloons, stones made from melted beer bottles, even salt and pepper shakers that he picked up during his travels.
“Each piece of jewelry is very different,” Museum Director Jean Druesedow said. “A lot of them are fun. The components are fun.”
Koby, 73, teamed with designer Geoffrey Beene in the 1980s and has created jewelry for the runway collections of Beene, Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta.
Sometimes designers send him fabric swatches as the inspiration for a piece of jewelry.
Two of those swatches will be on display in the exhibit.
The necklaces in the KSU display found their way on to the necks of jewelry collectors who wanted to stand out when they walked into a room, Druesedow said.
“These are women who like to wear important pieces. You have to have a certain carriage and confidence to wear them,” she said. “You’re going to be noticed.”
Notables who have worn Koby’s three-dimensional jewelry include Barbara Walters, Gloria Vanderbilt and Catherine Zeta-Jones, according to KSU.
Druesedow personally selected pieces from two of the collectors, and Koby worked with three others to develop a retrospective of his work.
As is typical for the KSU galleries, The Creative Eye will be on display for a year. An exhibit on pleats that opened in May and another on Catholic liturgical vestments that opened in March are among exhibits in the museum’s eight galleries.
The university will hold a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the museum in Rockwall Hall on the campus’s front oval for Koby’s fans. Tickets are $15.
General admission to the museum is $5.
For more information, go to www.kent.edu/museum/.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3729.