… to my electronic repository of professional enterprise.
I received my PhD from the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, and I am the Creative Director and Co-Founder of 12 Keys Consultancy & Design, LLC.
I am an academic and a goldsmith. As a historian of early modern science, I examine 17th-century medico-alchemical laboratory technologies, materials and sensory experiences, as well as the production and trade of chemical medicine in the British Atlantic world. This research extends to the study of emblem culture in alchemical practice as a form of encrypting theoretical and practical knowledge as allegorized text and images. As a maker, my work encompasses study of the histories and techniques of jewellery making. These interests draw from my previous professional experience in Toronto’s jewellery industry as a designer and wax model-maker.
For the past few years I have been Project Lead for Furnace and Fugue: A Digital Edition of Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1618) with Scholarly Commentary – a multi-disciplinary collaboration involving historians of science and of art, musicologists and performers, digital scholars and rare books curators, which I co-edited with Tara Nummedal (Brown University, History). This born-digital publication and the community of scholars and performers associated with it is based on my 2013-14 postdoctoral research at the Science History Institute. I subsequently brought the project to Brown University to work with Tara on producing the digital edition, which has been developed by Brown University Library’s Mellon-supported Digital Publications Initiative, and will be published by the University of Virginia Press in Fall 2020 as an open-access edition.
My current research focuses on a 17th-century Puritan alchemist named John Allin and examines how Allin’s millenarian religious beliefs shaped his entrepreneurial practice of experimental science in England and America.
I teach students at undergraduate and graduate levels as well as adult learners, I am a history educator to jewelry industry professionals, and I lecture for museum outreach programs. My teaching practice combines the study of texts, images, and objects with hands-on work using tools and materials. My expertise is in team building, project-based training, materials and archival research, sustainable jewellery advocacy, and entrepreneurial scholarship.
Please direct enquiries to bilak[at]12keys[dot]consulting
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