Laura Marsolek is a metalsmith and art historian who aspires to become a jewelry expert and museum curator. She currently lives in Florence, Italy. A teaching assistant for both Syracuse and Stanford Universities, Laura teaches Italian Renaissance art history and leads site visits for American students studying abroad. She makes jewelry at a Florentine studio where she is learning the time-honored art of hand engraving from a former Buccellati goldsmith. She is interested in metal craft traditions and techniques, as well as educating others and promoting craft heritage. This interest began as an undergraduate at Syracuse University where her honors capstone project focused on Medici symbols in the jewelry worn by the Grand Duchess of Tuscany in 1545 and the techniques used to make the adornments. She read metalsmithing treatises written by the Medici’s court jeweler, traveled to Italy to shadow Florentine jewelers using Renaissance techniques, and recreated the Duchess’s jewelry. Following graduation, Laura spent a year in Kosovo on a Fulbright grant studying filigree jewelry traditions, and investigated religion’s role in adornment traditions and conflicting cultural ownership of the filigree craft among Kosovo’s ethnic groups. She also apprenticed at a master’s filigree studio, Filigran Company, where her role evolved into cultural marketing. Laura graduated from Syracuse University in Florence with a master’s degree degree in Italian Renaissance Art History in 2015. Her master’s degree thesis focused on a little studied, sixteenth-century rock crystal wine fountain. Laura’s research on Italian and Kosovar metal craft traditions has been featured on the American Craft Council blog and in Adornment Magazine. She has also been a featured speaker at conferences by the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts. Laura is eager to learn about Asian metal craft traditions and museum curation. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching English as a second language and taking part in English activities for Italian schoolchildren at Florence’s Horne Museum.
2018-2019 Luce Scholar