Gogo: Nature Transformed
Boar's Tusk Necklace, 1986-1988
Made by Gogo Ferguson, 1986-1988
Boar tusk and sterling silver beads
Deidra Smith Collection
explores the role the natural environment plays in shaping the jewelry and home wares created by Georgia designer Janet "Gogo" Ferguson. Cumberland Island, the southernmost barrier island on the Georgia coast, plays a formative role in Gogo's work as both her home base and her primary source of inspiration. 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.
Though the root of her inspiration has remained unchanged, Gogo's work has evolved and transformed over time using different materials and techniques. Originally she worked with the source material, combining bones and shells into striking but often fragile works. Eventually she cast gold and/or silver versions using the lost-wax process — a technique that captures every detail of the original objects. Recently she has begun to make more use of high-tech equipment to manipulate found forms using 3-D scanning technology. She also works with artisans who hand pound Alpaca — a metal alloy consisting of copper, nickel, and zinc — creating more fluid, interpretive works that are still based on the natural elements Gogo finds both in her travels and in the rarified environment of Cumberland Island.
Organization & Support
This exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art.
Generous support of this exhibition is provided by Friends of Gogo and the Isobel Anne Fraser-Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment.
© Gary Gruby/Atlanta
Gogo Ferguson and her work are firmly rooted in the history and iconography of her family and her home on Cumberland Island, Georgia. A direct descendant of Andrew Carnegie's brother Thomas Carnegie, who bought the island in the late nineteenth century, Gogo grew up and still makes her home on Cumberland Island. The southernmost barrier island in Georgia, Cumberland Island is a place of extremes. Defined at times by wealth and prestige, it is a nature-lover's paradise.
Partially gifted by the Carnegie family to the National Park Service, Cumberland Island is home to wild horses, boars, turkeys, and other undomesticated animals. In 1962 Lucy R. Ferguson, Gogo's grandmother, converted the family home on Cumberland Island into the Greyfield Inn. This provided a source of revenue for the family and, if desired, a place where any member could work and live. In 1986 Gogo, with her infant daughter Hannah, returned permanently to Cumberland Island and developed a new business, Gogo Jewelry.
Since launching her jewelry enterprise, Gogo's career milestones include designing John and Carolyn Kennedy's wedding rings and a necklace for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Her designs have been gifted to heads of state and first ladies including being presented to international dignitaries visiting Atlanta for the Olympic Games in 1996.
Now twenty-six years later, Hannah has begun designing and is currently the president of Gogo Jewelry, now a family legacy.
Learn more about Gogo Jewelry >>