(June 29, 1873 -July 18, 1948). Born in Indianapolis, Bowles graduated from Indianapolis (later Shortridge High School) in 1890. After her marriage in 1895 to Joseph Moore Bowles, a graphic designer and printer, she moved to Boston, where she displayed her book illuminations at the second exhibition of the Society of Arts and Crafts (1899). During this time she began to study metalsmithing and established a metalworking studio in New York City.

J. Pierpont Morgan commissioned Bowles to make gold chalices, spoons, and plates. She received another early order from the painter and theatrical designer John Alexander, for the stage actress Maude Adams. Bowles reportedly made ecclesiastical metalwork for St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. Bowles exhibited in New York, Boston, London, and Paris, and regularly at the John Herron Art Museum (Newfields). In 1910 she displayed her metalwork at the fourth annual exhibition of the National Society of Craftsmen (New York). She won a bronze medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915 (San Francisco).

Bowles returned to Indianapolis in 1912, where she taught classes in jewelry and metalsmithing. Starting about 1927, she also taught pottery at Shortridge High School for 28 years. In 1920 Bowles won the first prize offered by Bosselini, a Florentine art patron, for a gold chalice. Among artists who competed with Bowles for this prize was René Lalique, with whom she later studied. In 1924 Bowles exhibited her work at the Art Center in New York City, where she had a solo exhibit from 1929 to 1930. During this period Bowles created custom-made jewelry for Gorham’s Fifth Avenue New York shop.

In addition to her metalwork, Bowles was the author of Gossamer To Steel (1917) and Complete Story Of The Christmas Tree (1918).

Revised February 2021

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