Dodge Silver from the Asheville Art Museum
On view at Wells Fargo Bank (1 Haywood Street, Asheville 28801)
Bank hours: M-F 9am-5pm; closed on weekends
William Waldo Dodge Jr. first arrived in Asheville in 1919 to recuperate at U.S. Army General Hospital No. 19, which had opened in 1918 to serve those wounded in World War I. Already a young architect educated at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dodge learned silversmithing under one of his occupational therapists Margaret Wheeler Robinson, his future wife. In 1922 the couple briefly moved to Connecticut so that Dodge could receive treatment for lingering respiratory issues at the Gaylord Farm Sanatorium. There he and Margaret helped to establish the Gaylord Silvercraft workers—a program which offered patients a new source of income after recovery.
The couple returned to Asheville in 1923 and Dodge opened a modest studio on the property of their Charlotte Street home (now demolished). Several talented silversmiths apprenticed and worked alongside Dodge and for his growing company, including Johnny Green and Ray Yeomans, whose work is featured in this exhibition. Crafted by hand and bringing beauty to everyday objects, Dodge silver exemplifies the spirit of originality and individuality valued by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Dodge’s designs brought the Arts & Crafts movement into the homes of many local and regional residences. He had a keen marketing sense, catering to consumers of all ages by producing a wide array of objects spanning from jewelry pieces to accessories to Christening gifts.
An accomplished architect, Dodge’s hand wrought objects tend to reflect architectural principles of balance, rhythm, and harmony. His playful and striking designs captured the attention of collectors for decades after the boom of the Arts & Crafts movement. In 2016, the Asheville Art Museum received a major gift of 84 silver objects from the Dodge family and now has the most comprehensive public collection of Dodge silver in the world.