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portrait of Pripp

John Prip

Prip was born in New York City and lived there throughout his childhood. His father was Danish. At one point his father and his mother moved their family to Denmark when Prip was ten years old. Both his father and his grandfather were silversmiths. He recalls playing in silver factories since he could walk. His father owned a small factory of forty to fifty people producing flatware. For Prip it was practical to learn the trade. At age fifteen Prip apprenticed to a silversmith in Denmark. In 1942 he completed his journeyman's piece. He came back to the United States in 1948 with his wife and his son. Prip's daughter was born in the United States.

Prip taught at the School for American Craftsmen at Alfred (the school later moved to Rochester Institute of Technology). Prip was involved with the Shop One. It was the first shop of its kind. Shop One was a retail store run by craftsmen as an outlet to sell their work. He stayed with Shop One until 1957. In 1954, Prip resigned from his teaching position to devote himself entirely to Shop One. Prip felt the need to do something else. He contacted a friend and started to work for Reed & Barton. He became a designer in residence. Prip was able to do whatever he wanted, but his work had to work out with the advantages of Reed & Barton. Several of Prip's designs were put into production such as the Diamond and Dimension flatware designs. While working at Reed & Barton, Prip was introduced to a low temperature metal known as white metal. He explored possibilities of working with white metal and with pewter. In 1960 Prip reduced his commitment to Reed & Barton to working one-third time. He spent the other third teaching at the School of the Museum of Fine arts in Boston, Massachusetts.

By the 1960's Prip started to incorporate other metals into his work. He also started to incorporate granite and other stones. His later work was done in the Scandinavian style. It also involved the seaming and interlocking of forms. He enjoys spontaneity in his work. Prip works with an assortment of parts. During the 1980's when he taught at the Rhode Island School of Design he was interested in shell forming.

Prip insists his students have technical command and control over metal. As his students gain control of their skills he tries to push and stimulate them into developing their concepts.

His work is in permanent collections nationwide and is the recipient of the Council Gold Medal in 1992. Prip has received numerous other awards and honors and is recognized as a prominent figure in the metalsmithing field.