Linda MacNeil began her prodigious career as a metalsmith while she was still a teenager. Crafting wire jewelry in a basement studio set up by her father, she successfully sold the pieces on the street to passersby. MacNeil grew up in Hanover, New Hampshire, in a family filled with creative individuals, from her father who designed machinery to her clothing designer mother to relatives who were architects. Committed to art at an early age, MacNeil studied at the Philadelphia College of Art and the Massachusetts College of Art, where she was introduced to glass and her future husband, Dan Dailey. She received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1976.
Upon graduation, MacNeil started exhibiting her work in commercial galleries and soon gained recognition for her talent. Indeed, one of her first exposures at the Cooper & French Gallery in Providence earned her praise alongside Dale Chihuly in a Craft Horizons review. She has since shown in many distinguished galleries including Habatat Galleries, Florida; Hawk Galleries, Ohio; Leo Kaplan Modern, New York; Imago Galleries, California; Heller Gallery, New York and Mobilia Gallery, Massachusetts.
Her work has also been featured in American Craft, and major articles have appeared in Neues Glas, and Metalsmith. MacNeil’s metal-and-glass sculpture and jewelry have been acquired by several prestigious museums, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte, NC and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada. In addition, MacNeil’s artistic accomplishments have been recognized by the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and recently was awarded the Renwick Alliance’s Master of the Medium Award.
MacNeil has shared her consummate skill and aesthetic vision—marked by an Art Deco inspired elegance and economy of form—with students at the Pilchuck Glass School; Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; Rhode Island School of Design; and at the Miasa Center and the Niijima Glass Center in Japan. Although she has worked in various formats, including sculpture, windows, and architectural installations, jewelry has been the mainstay of her career. MacNeil applies the same love of material, technical precision, and clarity of form to all her work, while meeting the additional challenge of wearability in her jewelry.