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Santa Fe, New Mexico


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Tod Pardon


Tod Pardon of Saratoga, NY, approaches jewelry making not only as a designer and a craftsman, but as an artist. He has revolutionized the concepts of adornment to embrace the formalist substance of painting and sculpture. 

In 1987, Tod began working part-time for his father, Earl Pardon, the ”grandfather of craft jewelers.”  Two years later when Earl retired from Skidmore College, Tod became Earl’s full-time assistant.  Tod incorporated all that he learned from his father into his own jewelry, and this established him as one of the most technically proficient jewelers of his generation. 

A few months after his father’s death in 1991, Tod took a trip to Kenya that changed the course of his work.  Standing on the Massai Mara and hearing no sound, except the wind, released him from the events of the previous months while clearing and rejuvenating his mind and spirit.  When Tod returned to Saratoga, he began a new series of brooches that employed the vast technical vocabulary he learned from his father, but with an iconography of his own invention.

On his trip to Africa, he was attracted to the leg-wrappings of the Massai warriors.  Tod was also fascinated by a group of pre-Colombian Colima figures his parents had collected on a trip to Mexico.  The Colima figures were displayed on small pedestals.  Returning from Africa, Tod began developing a body of work, which simultaneously referred to the Colima figures in his parents’ home, Cycladic art, Modernist art and design from the 1950’s, as well as personal and more universal references. 


The brooches begin with the forming of the legs, from mokume-gane. Tod constructs the body out of 22K, 14K and sterling silver.  He then uses his own special inlay material, made of pigmented glass, which can be placed beside wood, bone, and other materials.  Tod enhances the brooches with accents of semi- precious stones.  When the brooch is finished, Tod makes a wooden pedestal for it..

“Within the humorous setting of strange brightly colored figurative pieces the duality of the human condition and its inherent anxiety are portrayed. Without humor the anxiety we face cannot really be interpreted; without darkness, we can’t see light.”  


Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC
The Arkansas Arts Cener Decorative Arts Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas
Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY


2007 “What Lies Beneath,” group exhibition, Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2006 “Relativity: Tod and Earl Pardon,” Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
2002 “Exquisite Irony,” Patina Gallery, Santa Fe, NM


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