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Volume 32 No.4 2009


Ornament Magazine

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Cover Feature: Carter Smith


Carter Smith The Creative Miracle. Tory Hughes The Path from Nothing to Something. Tokens of Affection and Regard Photographic Jewelry and Its Makers. Faience Its Versatility and Variability. Lin Stanionis The Beauty of Pathos. Art of the Samurai The Presence of the Past. Flora Book Expanding Her Vocabulary. Conference ISGB’s Gathering. Exhibition Writing with Thread. Exhibition The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith. Jewelry Arts Kim Fox. Marketplace Beads, Crystals & More.

Carter Smith 
by Carolyn L. E. Benesh

The Creative Miracle
The heart beats more quickly when we take in the kaleidoscopic colors bursting from the lustrous surfaces of Carter Smith’s shibori garments. His works do not evoke calm and tranquillity, but, au contraire, invoke emotional passions and raw desire, stimulating mental and physical energies. Transcendent and pure, color is an eye to the cosmic and we appreciate its complexity, and do so each waking moment when we observe the natural and material world surrounding us. Color’s beguiling state is due to its intrinsic miraculous quality based on how light waves refract off our eyes. Smith must have his eyes always fastened on the creative miracle of color, as he intuitively juggles its impact based on the infinite variety of combinations of hue, saturation and luminance, given his lifelong practice of shibori. Photographs by Carter Smith.


   Tory Hughes
by Jill A. DeDominicis
Tory HughesTory Hughes

The Path from Nothing to Something
“How is it that we go from nothing to something,” Tory Hughes asks, her eyes wide with excitement. “I think that’s just amazing.” Despite having made and sold art objects since she was in the sixth grade, the question is one that still captivates Hughes, and is a large part of her work as an artist, teacher, author, and creativity consultant. She has been creating in polymer clay since her teenage years; but refer to Hughes as a polymer artist and you will likely be corrected. “Well, I still don’t think polymer is ‘it’ for me. The work is about the artist and not the material; that’s why I really prefer to correct anybody who says, ‘Oh, you’re a polymer artist.’ No, I’m an artist and right now I work with polymer, but if I’m really serious about developing my own creative desires, personality—whatever we want to call that need to get stuff out there—to me it’s not defensible to limit it to a material. It’s just that polymer is really useful and does many of the things, so far, for most of the directions I’ve wanted to explore.” Photographs by Tory Hughes and Robert K. Liu/Ornament.


    Tokens of Affection and Regard
by Carl Little
Tokens of Affection and Regard   Tokens of Affection and Regard

Photographic Jewelry and Its Makers
The swift spread of the daguerreotype—the first photographic reproduction process available to the masses—in America in the 1840s had a dramatic effect on the culture of the time, transforming everything from journalism to pornography. Less well known was its impact on jewelry. Thanks to a recent exquisite exhibition (October 24, 2008 - June 21, 2009) at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the passionate obsession of collector Larry J. West, scholars of nineteenth-century American social history know a great deal more about this unusual and fascinating convergence called photographic jewelry. Photographs courtesy of Larry J. West, New York.


by Robert K. Liu

Its Versatility and Variability
Faience is the silicate used the longest for ornaments, although it is now almost forgotten and overshadowed by glass. Ironically, it is presently under more scrutiny by researchers than ever before (Tite and Shortland 2008). First synthesized about the end of the fifth millennium B.C., while glass was made around 1500 B.C., faience artifacts are primarily small, used as jewelry components or amulets and often numerous. Like other diminutive objects, such as beads, there exists much confusion as to their composition, age and origin. These silicates, as shown above with a range of ancient and contemporary faience ornaments, come in a dazzling array of sizes, shapes, colors, manufacturing techniques, and surface or glaze conditions. Faience objects reveal great variability, versatility and are of wide occurrence. When in good condition, with intact glaze, such artifacts are relatively easy to identify; but other than ancient Egyptian faience and those from a few other cultural areas, most faience has lost some or all of its glaze and is often so weathered or corroded as to baffle most as to its composition. Occurring in about a dozen colors and with a wide range of particle sizes in their cores, either largely white due to a lack of colorants, or colored throughout like Egyptian Blue or kyanos and glassy faience, many confound identification. Photographs by Robert K. Liu/Ornament.


Lin Stanionis
by Glen R. Brown
  Lin Stanionis   Lin Stanionis

The Beauty of Pathos
A symbolism of pain, suffering and desire for transcendence pervades the work of metalsmith Lin Stanionis both as a product of engaged reflection on the inescapable mortal coil and as the result of a more detached and intellectual analysis of aesthetic and spiritual forms as diverse as prison tattoos, Baroque vanitas images, Eastern Orthodox Catholic imagery and the art nouveau jewelry of René Lalique. In Stanionis’s recent series of large and intricate brooches, begun in 2006 under the title Marks of Deliverance, the dark and anguished flow of blood, venom and tears is paced by the syncopated buoyancy of clouds, feathers and brilliant light. Together these varied emotive elements form a tenuous harmony that ultimately neither descends irretrievably to the depths of despair nor revels in heady triumph over the sting of death. Stanionis’s territory is the ambiguous fearful/hopeful ground between extremes, and her brooches encompass both beauty and pathos––in fact the beauty of pathos, which inheres in that curious condition by which all that we cherish in life is made sweeter by the knowledge of its ultimate ephemerality. Photographs by John Blumb.


  Art of the Samurai
by Patrick R. Benesh-Liu
   Art of the Samurai     Art of the Samurai

The Presence of the Past
Japan’s tradition of bushido, literally translated to path of the warrior, has been part of Japan’s cultural evolution for more than seven hundred years. This martial philosophy was the intellectual property of the military class of Japan, the samurai, and has come to represent one of the most iconic symbols for that island nation. Steeped in myth and legend, its forebearers had been in place long before the emergence in the twelfth century of a more formal and ritualized culture, making the samurai among the most publicly documented for both their moral code and decorative costume. Photographs courtesy of Bowers Museum.


  Flora Book
by Robin Updike
  Flora Book   Flora Book

Expanding Her Vocabulary
Enter Flora Book’s lakeside home in Seattle, Washington, and you think you have just stepped into the private museum of a collector with a terrific eye and eclectic tastes. The walls of the living and dining rooms are literally lined with Book’s remarkable collection of blue and white eighteenth and nineteenth century English pottery and porcelain. Book has been collecting it for decades and her pieces range from tea cups and dessert plates to commemorative pitchers the size of tricycles. She guesses that about half of her collection of some fourteen hundred pieces is on display. There are also ethnographic artworks here and there; a clever side table made of an artist’s easel; and large, abstract oil paintings painted decades ago by Book herself. Given so much seductive visual diversion, it is easy to overlook what Book mischievously refers to as her “Chinese bidet filled with bagels.” The low, kidney-shaped porcelain tub on wooden legs is indeed a late eighteenth century Chinese bidet. But what Book calls her “bagels” are actually bracelets, bangles made of wool or cotton that she knits on four needles like tubes. Photographs by Roger Schreiber.



Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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