“Recycling of Nature”: A Few Moments with Artist Gogo

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In the hustle and bustle of this fast paced world we all seem to live in, artist “Gogo” Ferguson uses her art to remind us to slow down and listen to nature. A fifth generation Carnegie–a direct descent from Thomas Carnegie, brother of Andrew–she comes from a well-known entrepreneurial family.  She continues that legacy in creating jewelry from items found in nature and has her own successful business.

Gogo is featured in a show at the High Museum of Art, “Gogo: Nature Transformed” on display from January 19 to June 23, 2013.  As she was preparing her final touches on getting her show ready to open, Gogo spent a few minutes sharing with me about her life’s work.

Gogo credits her grandmother Lucy R. Ferguson in helping her develop the love of nature and the beauty found on Cumberland Island. “My whole lifestyle is one of very simple living. I don’t need a lot. I think that’s what the island has taught me,” emphasized Gogo. Her grandmother taught her a wide array of skills, even the ability to call an alligator.

High Museum director Michael Shapiro, a frequent guest to Cumberland Island connected with Gogo and has been a big supporter of the exhibit at the High Museum of Art.  “I don’t think the High has done many shows on jewelry designers that are still alive” gleams Gogo as she reiterates that her real purpose is to showcase the beauty and wonder of nature.  The jewelry affords individuals to experience a bit of Cumberland Island.

Gogo has had many well known fans, from Jackie Kennedy Onassis, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Mikhail Baryshnikov to name a few.  Baryshnikov wrote a touching  forward to the art catalogue of the exhibit.  In the book for the show, Gogo: Nature Transformed, there is a well known photo of this famed dancer taken by Annie Leibovitz on Cumberland Island.

Gogo with daughter Hannah

Gogo with daughter Hannah

Her biography is full of interesting tales. One that stands out is that as part of the 2004 G-8 Summit, Gogo designed a special pair of cuff links that were gifts to the visiting dignitaries. These are but a few of the special events her jewelry has been used to commemorate something extraordinary.

Before you enter the exhibit you cross a sky bridge that has been transformed to a scene full of trees and moss and at the far end you see a large 9 ft by 6 ft installation of a reproduction of New England Sea Weed.  Below is a sea urchin pouf that has been enlarged to resemble a seat with a comfy ostrich leather top surrounded by displays full of gems.

The display cases have a mix of artifacts and interesting pieces of jewelry, along with candle sticks, and other interesting utensils.

As to trends, Gogo tends not to follow them, but she does admit that the theme of nature was prominent a recent article in W Magazine. She does not follow them, she creates them.

As to her process, Gogo she admits that is always on the hunt for something unique. Now with the help of her daughter Hannah, Gogo is able to digitally scan her finds and change the dimensions to different size of scales and show case the beauty of God’s creations.

Gogo’s logo is made of rattlesnake ribs and vertebrae, of which are found on Cumberland Island. On display there is an interesting evolution of this insignia.

Gogo's logo

Gogo’s logo

In an age that being “green” is the new status symbol, the jewelry design of Gogo is a refreshing retro look into the true marvels that nature has to offer.  As Gogo notes, her work is simply a “recycling of nature.”

Be sure to check out Gogo: Nature Transformed at the High Museum of Art which runs from January 19- July 7, 2013.  http://tinyurl.com/a6n8fd8

A wonderful way to see how from the bones of animals to shells and seaweed washed ashore, nature provides the foundation for the elegant and eclectic works of wearable art produced under Gogo’s creative lens.  Check out this video about Gogo:  http://youtu.be/IQUIGllPSsI

Bird Skull Cuff Links - One of my favorite designs

Bird Skull Cuff Links – One of my favorite designs

There is also an opportunity to take home a piece of this exhibit by the selection available at the High Museum’s gift shop or visit Gogo’s site for more information and works:  http://www.gogojewelry.com/

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Dr. Wilson Trivino is a longtime TBB contributor, follow him on Twitter @T4Vista.

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