Bruce S Bauer
The skills that have led to my success as a Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, one of the first to choose this career directly upon completing my plastic surgery residency, had roots both in growing up in a medical family, and growing up in a family that encouraged my artistic abilities. From early childhood until the present, my artistic eye, ability to think in three dimensions, and the manual skills too ?see one, do one?, could have taken me into the arts, but surgery first and then pediatric plastic surgery brought almost all these skills together. Having said that, the young child who went from collecting rocks on the corner, to learning to cut stones, and work in silver and gold, was never left behind. It was just put on hold close to forty years.
Learning early jewelry skills both from books, and a number of sharing jewelers in Greenwich Village, by my early teens, I began with jewelry of simple modern Scandinavian designs, but slowly started to blend in my wonder of the natural world, and interest in Asian arts. An interest in carving began first in seeing large scale ivory etching and carving on whalebone while spending summers on Cape Cod (in the 60s, whale?s teeth were available for only a few dollars). However, seeing the material as more than a medium for the typical scrimshaw, by my later teens and early twenties, this material became one from which I began to blend my interests, with carvings of three dimensional cameo-like maidens with dragonflies and butterflies in their hair and netsuke like cicadas, mounted or highlighted in gold.
Entering college, I began to look toward a future career, and the decision to head toward medicine in general and surgery specifically, seemed the ideal use of my manual skills. Once in medical school, a career in plastic surgery seemed absolutely suited to my artistic skills as well. Not surprisingly, my training and career took precedence over my continuing to develop those very early skills in the jewelry arts. However, at the same time, it afforded a chance to further develop my love and eye for all things natural (through photography), and a chance to begin to learn about and collect Asian art, and by extension decorative arts from the Art Nouveau period. My love for this period and style has never lessened, and it provides one of the strongest influences in my current jewelry work.
With my career move from Chief of Plastic Surgery at Children?s Memorial Hospital in 2009 to NorthShore University HealthSystem, where I am currently Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery, my pediatric specialization has continued and my practice increased, yet the move seemed to afford me the opportunity and time to build a shop, and start to build on the self taught skills that I had started to learn many years before. The years of experience as a reconstructive surgeon have provided a skilled three dimensional sense, and methods of visualizing a plan, that a career as a jeweler could never have offered. With these skills, and attention to minute detail, my work has built on my long time influences, but has developed a playfulness of each piece, telling a story, and many having hidden elements on the reverse of a piece, or hidden only for the wearer to enjoy. They are designed to be seen in all dimensions as a sculptural work and are best described as art jewelry.