The Mint Museum announces ‘Objects of Affection’ that celebrates artistry of jewelry designer Robert Ebendorf


Robert W. Ebendorf (American, 1938–), various artists. ECU Charm Necklace (detail), 2017, silver, copper, brass, enamel, mixed media, found objects, 19 x 12 1/2 x 1 3/4 in. Collection of The Mint Museum. Gift of Porter • Price Collection. 2022.49.7

For Immediate Release | IMAGES

An exhibition of works by artist Robert Ebendorf, one of the most influential artists in the studio jewelry movement

Charlotte, North Carolina (March 1, 2024) — Objects of Affection: Jewelry by Robert Ebendorf from the Porter • Price Collection opens April 27 at Mint Museum Randolph. With over 180 stunning pieces on display, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the evolution of Robert Ebendorf’s designs and witness his decades of influence on the studio jewelry movement.

Ebendorf’s playful and innovative use of everyday objects to create one-of-kind wearable art has stamped his place as one of the most influential artists in the studio jewelry movement. His work is a juxtaposition to cultural preconceptions of fine jewelry. Intricate and striking, he creates dynamic works with found objects, including crab claws, sea glass, plastic, paper, as well as recycled industrial objects like keys, buttons, beer bottle caps, washers, and wire mesh.

The exhibition features works of jewelry, metalwork, drawings, and archival materials created by Ebendorf, as well as faculty and graduates of the metal design program at East Carolina University, and drawn the Porter • Price Collection. His playful and innovative use of everyday objects in jewelry has inspired countless artists across generations. As a teacher and mentor, Ebendorf’s influence extends far beyond his own creations, making him a beloved figure in the industry.

“Bob Ebendorf has inspired countless artists across several generations through his distinctively playful use of everyday objects on jewelry,” says Rebecca Elliot, assistant curator of Craft, Design, and Fashion at the Mint. “As a teacher, mentor, and friend, he is not only respected but beloved.”

Ebendorf had an extensive career as a professor beginning in 1964 and culminating at East Carolina University (1997–2016). The exhibition includes work by 31 graduates and faculty of the metal design program at ECU, many who were colleagues and students of Ebendorf’s.

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.

Objects of Affection: Jewelry by Robert Ebendorf from the Porter • Price Collection is generously presented by Bank of America. Individual sponsorship is kindly provided by Posey and Mark Mealy, Staci and Jeff Mills, Emily and Bill Oliver, Beth and Drew Quartapella, Chrys and Ches Riley, and Ann and Michael Tarwater.


Museum admission will be free 11 AM–4 PM Saturday, April 27 and 1–5 PM Sunday, April 28.

The Mint’s 11th annual Coveted Couture Gala celebrates the opening of the exhibition on the evening of April 27.


Artist Talk with Robert Ebendorf
May 18 | 2–3:30 PM
Mint Museum Randolph

Artist Robert “Bob” Ebendorf will be joined by collectors and friends Ron Porter and Joe Price for a discussion about his journey from a midcentury-modernist metalsmith to an artist who creates collages and jewelry using found objects. Porter and Price will share how they built a collection of hundreds of works by Ebendorf and other contemporary jewelry artists. The discussion is moderated by the exhibition curator, Rebecca Elliot.

Future gallery talks with ECU faculty and graduates will be announced throughout the run of the exhibition. Find all upcoming events at

Objects of Affection is accompanied by a full-color, 112-page catalogue with an introduction by jewelry scholar Toni Greenbaum and other texts by Rebecca Elliot, assistant curator of Craft, Design, and Fashion at The Mint Museum, including an essay about Ebendorf and several ECU faculty and graduates; interviews with Ebendorf and with Porter and Price; a description of the Ebendorf Archive; and a checklist of Ebendorf’s work in the Porter • Price Collection at The Mint Museum.

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).

Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.