“Sondra Sherman, an associate professor of art in jewelry and metalwork at SDSU, recently had one of her pieces, “Flowers and Still Life”—a brooch embedded in a carved-out book—acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). But, years ago, Sherman thought she’d be a painter, not a jewelry designer—”perhaps the naïve default idea of what being an artist meant to students from my socio-economic background,” she says. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in painting and metals, figuring jewelry design would pay the bills and support her painting “habit.” But, jewelry won out, and Sherman went on to earn a graduate degree at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts in Germany.
“True Happiness” is from her FTDs series of brooches, “hybrid abstractions of traditional flower corsages and medicinal herbs,” as she describes it. The series’ name plays on two meanings of FTD: Most recognizable is the flower-delivery company, but in the psychiatric world, FTD stands for formal thought disorder—disorganized thinking that manifests as disordered speech—”all the more apropos of the botanical inspirations of aphrodisiacs and psychotropic plants” in the series, she says.
As for her work becoming part of LACMA’s permanent collection: “I relocated to the West Coast seven years ago for my current teaching position at SDSU, and I am still acclimating!” Sherman says. “So having a piece acquired by LACMA actually made me feel more at home—some sense of being represented in a public collection as a San Diego resident and participating in the regional scene.”