Sterling silver, copper, lumber pencils, rulers.
Stand: 7” x 7” x 7” / Bowl: 5 3/4” dia x 1” d / Cuff: 1 1/8” w x 2 1/2 ” diameter
Lessons Beyond Lazaretto: Tontine
Jack da Silva 2021
The artwork I have created for Upended Lives: Jewelry in the Age of Covid, is inspired
by the challenges of teaching a hands-on Jewelry Metal Arts course online during the
Covid 19 pandemic. It is titled: Lessons Beyond Lazaretto: Tontine
Remote teaching compelled me to complete extensive training, restructure the
curriculum and gather new technical equipment. The abrupt shift away from in person
interaction motivated me to organize methods for connectivity beyond the ‘normal’
scope of education.
Flexibility and patience, on the part of both the instructor and the students, became
imperative while connecting through laptops, tablets, even cell phones. Trial and error,
ingenuity and community support helped me provide tool kits for the students to be able
to work from home.
The endeavor to teach and create from “quarantine” began to take shape as the
concept for my response to this exhibition. I selected pi as a metaphor of our ability to
analyze, understand, develop and share knowledge.
The first lazaret was established by Venice in 1423 on Santa Maria di Nazareth. Between 1403 and
1630 it housed a hospital which cared for people [in quarantine] during the plague epidemics.
Excerpt from Wikipedia
Tontine (a pledge)
…tontines continued to be arranged between individuals… for specific projects throughout the 19th
century, and, in modified form, to the present day. Excerpt from Wikipedia
Lessons Beyond Lazaretto:
Tontine includes three separate elements:
The geometric symbols on the sterling cuff represent the principles being taught through
online education. These principles provide a means of how their application can be
incorporated into our lives.
Pi is characterized in several aspects of the overall design through geometric
symbolism, proportions of the copper vessel and dimensions of the selected metal
thickness used to form the vessel.
These corelate to the first six digits of pi: 3.14159
3 = triangle;1 = circle; 4 = square; 15 = width of vessel/rim; 9 = metal thickness selected
Lumber pencils are a metaphor for society and educational institutions. Rulers reflect
efforts necessary to reinforce stability in these changing times. Improvised solutions
seek to keep pace with new requirements to reach our students for their education
beyond the obstacles that life brings. Wing nuts, nuts and screws signify my
commitment (pledge) to continue offering a viable education as a practicing artist and