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Volume 30 No.1 2006

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PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART CRAFT SHOW 2006. Vladimir Péter Elevating Everyday Life. Diane Harty Hats for Literal and Metaphorical Travels. Ron Ho Sought and Found. Peter Schilling A Passion for Jade. Steven Ford and David Forlano The Delicate Aesthetic Balance of Equivalent Terms. Suzanne Perilman Distilling Mystery. An Ornamental Heritage Ethnic Egyptian Silver Jewelry. Museum News The Millicent Rodgers Collection. Venue SOFA Chicago 2006. Collaboration William and Marianne Hunter. Ancient Sites Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot. Exhibition Symbols of Identity, Jewelry of Five Continents. Exhibition Kiff Slemmons, Re:Pair & Imperfections. Bead Arts Sharif Bey. Fiber Arts Ildikó Dobesová. Marketplace Abeada.


Philadelphia Museum of Art
Craft Show 2006
by Carl Little
  Ed Branson as seen in Ornament Magazine Kathleen Dustin as seen in Ornament Magazine Elise Winters as seen in Ornament Magazine

They probably will not play the theme song from the movie Rocky as one hundred ninety-five craft artists from across America—and twenty-six from Finland —bear their creations into the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, but there should be some kind of fanfare. After all, 2006 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, one of the most distinguished in the world—and this year’s edition looks to be among the most exciting on record.

As they have in the past, the show’s organizers have invited distinguished figures from the craft field to serve as jury. The roster is impressive: Jill Heppenheimer, co-owner of the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery and creator and director of the Design with Heart Fiber Conference project (1996-2006); Jane Adlin, associate curator in the Department of 19th Century, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jack Larimore, renowned craftsman in wood and professor at the University of the Arts; Donna Schneier, owner of Donna Schneier Fine Arts in New York; and Amy Sarner Williams, executive director of the Clay Studio in Philadelphia.

Show Manager Nancy O’Meara says that this year’s show features around forty first-time exhibitors. Jewelry and ceramics are the two largest categories, as far as applicants and number of artists in the show go. More than fifteen hundred craft artists applied. Images courtesy of the artists.


  Vladimir Péter   
by Jacqueline Ruyak
  Vladimir Péter as seen in Ornament Magazine Vladimir Péter as seen in Ornament Magazine

Wladis Gallery is on a corner of Falk Miksa Utca, a tree-lined street just off the Danube River, on the bustling Pest side of Budapest. Wladis is a Germanized form of Vladi, the nickname of owner Vladimir Péter, whose silver jewelry is featured at the gallery. A metalsmith and designer, Péter is the founding spirit of the Hungarian contemporary jewelry movement.

With its solid, rounded shapes and silky, opaque patina, his jewelry evinces a timeless mastery. Pendants and bracelets may have the classic beauty of prehistoric finds. Chubby horse and bird figures, charmed objects for necklaces, turn out to be tiny whistles. Rings may be starkly simple, crowned with rock crystal, or make dramatic use of coral, horn, Bakelite, mother-of-pearl, silk, and such. Thoroughly contemporary, the jewelry yet speaks of ancient ways while inviting the human touch. Photographs by Gábor Máté.


  Diane Harty
by Glen Brown

Diane Harty as seen in Ornament Magazine Diane Harty as seen in Ornament Magazine

In arguing the case for hats as art it would be an interesting, though in the end false, observation that long before the first sculpture of a human head was ever set upon a pedestal, the actual human head was employed as a site for sculpture. The sequence in this speculation may well be correct, but the substance is somewhat misleading. Hats, like masks, nose rings, lip plugs, and earrings can clearly possess many, perhaps even all, of the formal traits of pedestal sculptures, but they are ultimately dissimilar precisely because the human head is not a pedestal. It is not an artificial support that serves to underscore the separation of sculpture from reality but rather a reality to which ornaments and apparel are intimately linked for their purpose and meaning. Hats cease to be hats if this fundamental connection is broken. Photographs by Todd Powell.



Ron Ho

by Robin Updike
  Ron Ho as seen in Ornament Magazine Ron Ho as seen in Ornament Magazine

For many decades Ho, who turns seventy this month, has been one of the region’s most respected jewelry artists. His exquisitely designed neckpieces and pendants are admired for their evocative references to Asian cultures, especially Chinese culture, and for their sheer beauty. But since the 2005 death of his mentor and great friend Ramona Solberg, Ho has also become the Pacific Northwest’s senior master of a particularly exuberant, boundary-breaking philosophy about jewelry art that has flourished in the Seattle area under a succession of artists. The artistic torch was lit by the legendary Ruth Pennington, who taught metal arts at the University of Washington for forty years. Pennington passed her knowledge and passion on to a generation that included Solberg. Solberg’s spirited, culturally inclusive point of view then influenced a new generation of younger artists. One of them was Ho.
Photographs from Collection of Tacoma Art Museum (left) and from Collection of Dorene Tully (right).


  Peter Schilling 
by Elizabeth Frankl
  Peter Schilling  as seen in Ornament MagazinePeter Schilling  as seen in Ornament Magazine Peter Schilling  as seen in Ornament Magazine

Hold one of Peter Schilling’s handcarved jade pendants and you feel the thrill of happening upon something wild and precious and timeless—a perfect shell on the beach, an arrowhead in the dirt, a fossil embedded in stone. Immediately, you are connected to that age-old desire to keep and display that treasure. Solid and silky smooth, with spirals and notches and softly rounded edges, the pendants are impossible not to play with. But it is the jade itself, luminous and with exquisite color variations, that intoxicates. Photographs by Peter Schilling.


  Steven Ford and David Forlano
by Glen Brown
  Peter Schilling as seen in Ornament Magazine Peter Schilling  as seen in Ornament Magazine

Artistic collaboration is a relatively unique process. Most forms of cooperative production tend to be geared toward obvious practical ends, as, for example, when tasks are distributed to increase productivity, resources are consolidated to enhance operations, or specialists from different disciplines team up to solve multifaceted problems. Collaboration in art may sometimes be undertaken for just such pragmatic purposes, but it is generally driven by other motives as well. After all, art is often anything but pragmatic. In art, tendentious uselessness is commonplace precisely because it is so uncommon in other kinds of production. Whether or not art closely mirrors life, it must certainly depart from life in some appreciable respects if it is to remain distinguishable as art. Impracticality can therefore play a part in art’s self-preservation, and, accordingly, since the late nineteenth century the artist’s key prerogative has been to work in the absence of any definite goal simply to discover what might arise as a result. Photographs by Robert K. Liu/Ornament (left) and by Robert Diamante (right).


  Suzanne Perilman
by Leslie Clark
  Peter Schilling  as seen in Ornament Magazine Peter Schilling  as seen in Ornament Magazine

Slip into one of Suzanne Perilman’s one-of-a-kind silk wraps, tunics, kimono, reversible jackets, or scarves and be softly enveloped in an opaque aura of ineffable, swanky style. The luscious fabrics, cool-hued colors and rich harmonies of surface design on her artwear conspire to project a sang froid that insinuates intrigue and allure. “I love mystery,” says the textile artist and fashion designer, who also goes professionally by the name Suzanne Silk. “I like to distill a sense of mystery through layering images and pieces of fabric in different combinations. It’s a process of actually listening and seeing your mind at work—a color here, another color there. I like the idea of not knowing what will emerge. My work lets your eyes rest on it and look at it clearly; otherwise everything’s overwhelming.” Photographs by Paul Glickman at the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico.


  An Ornamental Heritage
by Jolanda Bos and
Sigrid van Roode
  Peter Schilling  as seen in Ornament Magazine as seen in Ornament Magazine

The study of Islamic jewelry has mostly addressed shape and decoration, sometimes technique, with the value of these objects as cultural heritage rarely established. The Arab saying El hadayad lil wa’t el shadayad (bracelets are there for difficult times) best fits the purpose of silver jewelry in nomadic societies. Jewelry was acquired as mahr, a woman’s dowry or bridewealth. The jewelry was not heirloomed but given to each woman anew. Bracelets were bought in times of prosperity and sold in times of despair, whenever and wherever the women who owned them wanted to do so. Thus they provided insurance that the women could draw from in difficult times. After a woman’s death, her jewelry was sold and cast into new objects. A silversmith often bought back his own pieces. In this manner, the silver was melted again and again and continued in use through time and space as nomads crossed borders and lands. Photographs by J.E.M.F. Bos (left) and by B.J. Seldenthuis (right).



Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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