Mignon Faget: A Life in Art and Design

During a career spanning more than 40 years, Mignon Faget has remained in the forefront of jewelry design in the South. The Collection celebrated her achievement with the exhibition Mignon Faget: A Life in Art and Design.

September 22, 2010–January 2, 2011
533 Royal Street
Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

A native New Orleans artist, Mignon Faget has a national reputation in jewelry design. She began her career in 1967 by designing ladies’ apparel. In 1970 Faget’s creative impulses shifted from textiles to jewelry making, a career in which she has enjoyed immeasurable success for four decades. Through the years Faget has introduced over thirty major jewelry collections, each based on a particular theme. Architecture and nature are consistent sources of inspiration, persistently providing Faget with the initial creative spark that lies behind her translation of imagery into art. Faget has executed numerous special commissions for social, educational, and philanthropic organizations. This exhibition celebrated Faget’s career with more than 500 objects on display, including jewelry, clothing, drawings, photographs, linocuts, and glassware.

Mignon Faget in her studio

detail from Mignon Faget in her studio
by Michael P. Smith, ca.1979; photo print
on loan from the personal collection of Mignon Faget

In 1955 Faget earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a major in metalwork from Tulane University’s Newcomb College. She studied sculpture under Jules Struppeck (1915–1993), drawing under Pat Trivigno (b. 1922), and pottery under Sarah “Sadie” Irvine (1887–1970). Faget cites a “design in nature” course taught by Robert Durant “Robin” Feild (1893–1979) as being particularly influential throughout her adult life. In Feild’s course Faget and her classmates went on outdoor sketching expeditions to examine simple elements of nature as though seeing them for the first time. Feild emphasized the necessity of reducing these components to abstracted forms. More than fifty years later, these exercises continue to inspire Faget’s creative process.

Just as Faget’s first dress design featured shells, her first jewelry collection draws from the sea, a theme she continually revisits. She draws sustenance from her cultural heritage and her work reflects the richness that is characteristic of her native city.

Download the exhibition catalog (2.56 mb PDF format)

Click here to read curator Judith Bonner’s article on the exhibition in the summer 2010 Quarterly.

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