Margret Craver

born Pratt, KS 1907-died Cambridge, MA 2010
Media - craver_margret_2.jpg - 89974
Also known as
  • Margret Craver Withers
Pratt, Kansas, United States
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Active in
  • Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Margret Craver graduated in 1929 from the University of Kansas, where she developed a lifelong interest in hollowware and jewelry design. Her metalsmithing class did not offer instruction in techniques, nor were tutorial programs available elsewhere in the country, so Craver went to Europe. She studied with Baron Erik Fleming in Sweden and became a catalyst for promoting metalsmithing in America after World War II.

Motivated by the lack of rehabilitative therapy for wounded soliders while serving as a hospital volunteer, and through her association with the New York City metal refinery of Handy and Harman, Craver trained occupational therapists in metalsmithing. She also convened workshop conferences to teach the process to art teachers so that adequate instruction could be obtained in America. Craver rediscovered en résille, a difficult French seventeenth-century enameling technique, in which the metal is suspended within the enamel rather than serving as a backing for it.

Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)

Luce Artist Biography

During World War II, Margret Craver worked in a naval hospital, where she discovered that the repetitive motions demanded by metalwork were therapeutic for wounded veterans. Together with dealers Handy and Harman, she developed a series of workshops to teach metalsmithing techniques. The workshops continued after the war, attended by students such as John Paul Miller, Alma Eikerman, and Earl Pardon. Her other contribution to the art of jewelry making was the revival of a seventeenth-century enameling technique called en résille, a method of applying enamel to glass rather than metal.