|Known for||silversmith and jewellery designer|
Alma Eikerman spent a lifetime building skills in metalsmithing, silversmithing, and jewellery design and passed that knowledge on to generations of students during her time at Indiana University. She was a founding member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths in 1970.
Early years and education
Eikerman was born in rural Pratt, Kansas, one of seven children. She earned her undergraduate degree in 1934 in history, literature, and language from Kansas State and began her career as a public school teacher. It was in her graduate studies at Kansas University that she focused on design and painting and took her first jewellery courses. Eikerman transferred to Columbia University to complete her graduate degree in 1942 in painting, design, art history, and metalsmithing.
At Wichita State University, Eikerman began teaching design and jewellery design. She developed her skills in metalsmithing and also worked for the Red Cross during this time, serving in Italy during World War II (1944-1945.) In 1947, after returning to the U.S., she was asked to join the faculty at Indiana University. Interest and enrollment in classes related to metal and jewellery began to grow and Eikerman worked to establish a strong department at the school. This dedication to the development of the program helped motivate Eikerman to expand her personal skills and knowledge, perusing opportunities to study with renown metalsmiths and silversmiths around the world. She participated in a Handy and Harmon workshop at the Rhode Island School of Design, was accepted to study with Karl Gustav Hansen in his Kolding, Denmark, studio where she worked with master craftsman Henrick Boesen. In 1948 she moved on to Stockholm to study under Erik Fleming and later to Munich to work with Michael Wiler. When she returned from Europe Eikerman introduced European hollowware techniques which included, teapots and serving dishes, to the jewellery and metalsmithing program at Indiana University.
Eikerman received many honors and prestigious awards. She received the honor of Distinguished Professor from Indiana University before her retirement in 1978 and the American Craft Council's Gold Medal in 1993. In addition to the American Craft Council Award, she was honored with an Indiana Governor's Arts Award for her contributions to arts education. Then, in 1980 The College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Association bestowed Eikerman with a Distinguished Teaching Award in the Fine Arts. Eikerman was dedicated to her students, many of which went on to become successful artists. Amidst, these awards Eikerman designed a house in Bloomington, Indiana in 1980. In 1981 she received the distinguished teaching award from the IU College of Arts and Sciences Graduate School Alumni Association. Later in 1986, Eikerman accepted a Doctor of Fine Arts from Miami University Throughout her lifetime Eikerman's work has appeared in over 200 exhibitions, including "Objects USA" at the Smithsonian institution. The Smithsonian exhibit traveled to 25 U.S. countries and 11 European countries. She died in 1995.
Baden, Linda, ALMA EIKERMAN: The Questions Remain The Same. Ornament, August 1985, volume 9, issue 1, pages=29–33.
Farris-Larson, Gail, A retrospective exhibition of the jewellery and metalsmithing of Alma Eikerman and forty Indiana University alumni metal-artists. Metalsmith, Winter 1986, volume 6, pages 46–47.