Objects of Affection

April 27, 2024 - February 16, 2025

Mint Museum Randolph


Objects of Affection: Jewelry by Robert Ebendorf From the Porter • Price Collection celebrates the work of artist Robert Ebendorf, one of the most influential artists in the studio jewelry movement, beginning in the 1960s to today.

The exhibition features more than 180 works of jewelry, metalwork, drawings, and archival materials drawn from the Porter • Price Collection designed by Ebendorf, as well as faculty and graduates of the metal design program at East Carolina University.

Ebendorf’s work combines exceptional craftsmanship, acquired through traditional training in gold- and silversmithing, with the inventive use of found objects and other alternative materials such as acrylic and ColorCore.

Objects of Affection follows the evolution of Ebendorf’s designs from Scandinavian modernism of his early work to his first use of found objects, including tintype photographs in the 1960s; juxtapositions of colored acrylic and precious metals in the 1970s; use of found newspaper and other textual elements in the 1980s; his pivotal incorporation of animal parts in the 1990s; and the remixing and further development of many of these approaches in the 21st century.

Ebendorf had a long career as a professor, culminating at East Carolina University (1997–2016), and the exhibition includes work by 31 graduates and faculty of ECU’s metal design program.

While at ECU, Ebendorf became friends with Ron Porter and Joe Price, who built a wide-ranging collection of work by him and other ECU-affiliated artists and an equally extensive archive of their drawings, correspondence, and ephemera. Now part of the Mint Museum’s collection, the Porter • Price Collection affords a thorough look at the contributions of Ebendorf and the ECU program to the field of studio jewelry.

Objects of Affection is accompanied by a 112-page, full-color catalog published by Dan Giles, Ltd.


Robert Ebendorf was born and raised in Kansas and earned Bachelor of Fine Arts (1961) and Master of Fine Arts (1963) degrees from the University of Kansas. He received further training in metalsmithing in Norway through a Fulbright Fellowship (1963–64) and a Tiffany Foundation Grant (1966–67). Ebendorf was a professor of metalsmithing at Stetson University (DeLand, Florida, 1964–67), the University of Georgia-Athens (1967–71), the State University of New York at New Paltz (1971–89), and finally East Carolina University (1997–2016). He has also taught hundreds of jewelry and found-object assemblage workshops across the United States and abroad. Ebendorf has received numerous awards, including induction into the National Metalsmiths Hall of Fame (2004), a Master of the Medium award from the James Renwick Alliance (2005), and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of North American Goldsmiths (2014).  

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Thank you to the presenting sponsor:

Individual sponsorship is kindly provided by Posey and Mark Mealy, Jeffrey and Staci Mills, Emily and Bill Oliver, Beth and Drew Quartapella, Ches and Chrys Riley, and Ann and Michael Tarwater.  

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