To Immortality

To Remember

To Preserve

To Regenerate

To Heal


Born in Cleveland in 1984, Emily Bute attended the Cleveland Institute of Art where she studied enameling, jewelry, metalsmithing and visual culture. Upon receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2007, she moved to Brooklyn to work with Kiln Design Studio, makers of high quality enamel decorative items, tableware, and jewelry. She is currently an assistant designer at Alexis Bittar Inc. in Brooklyn, where she produces well-designed costume jewelry. She also maintains a studio in her home where she creates highly inventive work in enamel as well as unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry.

In 2007, Bute created a series of work in which she explored the practical, moral, and ethical issues generated by scientific investigations into the possibility of prolonging human life. For this provocative series Bute created five enamel on copper plates, each of which "memorializes" an animal used in the scientific experiments. All of the animals depicted possess unusual abilities and is being studied by researchers in an effort to apply their discoveries to improving the human condition.

Using traditional cloisonné with richly lustrous silver foils (paillons) and wet pack techniques, Bute has created a series that is at once stunningly beautiful and unsettling. Through the work Bute gives voice to complexly layered observations regarding our attitudes towards life and death, beauty and decay, and remembrance. The floral wreath that forms the border of each plate is used as a framing device and stands as a symbol of life, victory, and immortality.

Bute has described her series in the following terms: "This body of work is a representation of my desire to fuse the decorative and the destructive, the beautiful and the sublime. I work with a set of strong contrasts to make the grotesque attractive through use of precious materials including enamel and fine metals. The studied mouse, regenerating salamander, and cycles of insect-driven decomposition are all fair game in my attempt to find beauty and worth in creatures often associated with feelings of disgust. I hope that in simply viewing the pieces one can find the feeling of reverence I have for these creatures."