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Volume 30 No.3 2007

Ornament Magazine

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Cover Feature: Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird Aesthetic Companions.


2007 Smithsonian Craft Show. Candiss Cole Reaching for the Exceptional. Biba Schutz Haunting Beauties. Mariska Karasz Modern Threads. Tutankhamun’s Beadwork. Carol Sauvion’s Craft in America. Kristina Logan Master Class in Glass Beadmaking. Exhibition Skin + Bones. Exhibition Carter Smith. Artist Statement Jonathan Lee Rutledge. Fiber Arts Silvia Fedorova. Museum News Art of Being Taureg. Design Experiment Blown Glass Wire Armature Ornaments. Marketplace Scottsdale Bead Supply.

Cover Feature:
Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird
by Diana Pardue
Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird as seen in Ornament Magazine Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird as seen in Ornament Magazine

Aesthetic Companions
Traditional American Indian jewelry is well known for its use of silver and turquoise—a combination that has been appreciated, worn and collected for more than one hundred years. Two jewelers dramatically changed the artform in the 1970s through their collaborative efforts that combined unusual stones with silver, brass and, later, with gold. Yazzie Johnson and Gail Bird appreciated the work of earlier American Indian jewelers who mixed native garnets, jet and the rich hues of turquoise with silver. Their inspiration extended to the pictorial past of the Southwest—carvings and paintings on rock walls and designs on historic southwestern textiles and pottery. These early designs revealed change and continuity while recording the pictorial history of the Southwest.

That history and iconography were reflected in Johnson and Bird’s jewelry when they developed their first thematic belt in 1979. Made for the inaugural exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum in New Mexico, One Space, Three Visions was an extension of the buckles Johnson and Bird had been making with pictographic stones. Johnson and Bird placed jaspers and agates with inclusions and markings on one side of a belt buckle and designs of Southwest animals, birds, petroglyphs, pottery, and other inspirations on the reverse in silver overlay. Photographs by Craig Smith. Courtesy of the Heard Museum and the Museum of the New Mexico Press.


2007 Smithsonian Craft Show
by Carl Little
  John Iverson as seen in Ornament Magazine Tim & Kathleen Harding  as seen in Ornament Magazine

The jurying process has been streamlined in the past several years, with an electronic system in place that makes the gargantuan task a good deal easier. That said, the competition is stiff. This year’s judges—contemporary craft dealer Helen Drutt English, from Philadelphia; Gerhardt Knodel, vice president and director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; and Michael Monroe, executive director and chief curator of the Bellevue Arts Museum near Seattle, Washington—had to make difficult choices.
In the end, thirty percent of the chosen will be showing at the Smithsonian for the first time—which says a great deal about the depth of creative vitality in the field of craft arts in the United States today. “We sought to get the best quality,” juror Drutt English notes, “reveal innovative ideas, and bring to the fore the central theme of how artists work.”
Photographs courtesy of the artists.


  Candiss Cole
by Leslie Clark
  Candiss Cole as seen in Ornament Magazine Candiss Cole as seen in Ornament Magazine

Reaching for the Exceptional
She travels to shows six months out of the year, seeing loyal clients eager for her latest designs. Her hallmark handmade silk-ikat coats and jackets, wrought with panache in luscious, hand-dyed colors that glow with the warmth and beauty of natural landscapes, have an ardent following. But Candiss Cole is not satisfied and clearly is on another artistic quest. Despite scaling the heights of art-to-wear, Cole keeps moving on, reaching for the exceptional and the outstanding in her work. In the past five years she has gone through a creative resurgence. “I hadn’t been personally challenged at the gut level as an artist in a long time, and that had to change,” Cole says, seated in the downstairs studio of her rambling, three-level Sedona home. She spent months studying and experimenting, to emerge with some stunning results: chic new designs, subtle and original handwoven weave structures, even more lyrical and complex hand-dyeing, and her crowning glory, a uniquely gorgeous fabric she calls ikat-shibori, both reminiscent of spices and walks in the woods and glorious sunsets, and poetic, like water running over river rocks or moonlight on an inky black lake. Photographs by John Cooper.


  Biba Schutz
by Robin Updike

Biba Schutz as seen in Ornament Magazine Biba Schutz as seen in Ornament Magazine


Haunting Beauties
A collection of Biba Schutz’s jewelry suggests numerous images, all of them magically arresting. Her bracelets, neckpieces, pendants, brooches, and earrings are made of metal, mostly silver with accents of copper, bronze and gold. The patinas are subtle, darkly burnished rather than shiny. It is easy to look at the pieces and be reminded that silver, copper, bronze, and gold are among our planet’s most elemental metals and that since our first ancestors walked the earth, these metals have been prized both for tools and body ornament. Some of Schutz’s jewelry, such as a big, bold, wrapped, sterling silver and copper cuff, look in fact like they might have been unearthed in an archaeological dig in Africa, South America or the Mediterranean. There is a timelessness and strength about the bracelet that hints at the distant echo of many ancient cultures. Photographs by Ron Boszko.


  Mariska Karasz
by Ashley Callahan
Mariska Karasz  as seen in Ornament Magazine Mariska Karasz as seen in Ornament Magazine

Modern Threads
Though not widely known today, Mariska Karasz (1898-1960) provided modern women and children’s clothing to many devoted patrons in the 1920s and 1930s and inspired innumerable artists, craftspeople and hobbyists through her embroidered wall hangings in the late 1940s and 1950s. During three successive, and remarkably successful, careers in New York, she maintained her childhood love for fabrics, threads and colors. She repeatedly looked to the folk arts of her native Hungary for inspiration, but always worked in a modernist mode, never relying on old-fashioned approaches or ideas. In 1955 Karasz wrote, “Let one’s attitude of the day be the maker of today’s forms, for how could it be otherwise?” Her enthusiasm and skill for capturing the contemporary moment gives her work a vitality that remains as fresh and stimulating today as it was decades ago when she first presented it to eager audiences.
Photograph by J. C. Miligan. Drawing by Mariska Karasz. Courtesy of the Georgia Museum of Art.


  Tutankhamun’s Beadwork
by Jolanda Bos-Seldenthuis
  Tutankhamun’s  Beadwork  as seen in Ornament Magazine Tutankhamun’s Beadwork  as seen in Ornament Magazine

Maybe Tutankhamun is better known for the so-called curse that befell the archaeologists who discovered his tomb and the speculations around the cause of his premature death. He is famous for the religious convictions of his father Akhenaten as well as for the turbulent times in which he lived. And he is certainly remembered for the fact that his tomb was found nearly intact. His gold is truly legendary, hundreds of precious and semiprecious stones, rings, bracelets, and a series of golden coffins were discovered behind the thick wall that sealed his tomb. Even now, almost a century after the discovery, Tutankhamun’s tomb is still written about in newspapers and magazines. However, nobody ever talked about the objects that were encountered most frequently among his tomb’s treasure: beads. And this category definitely deserves as much admiration as the more renowned objects.

Thousands of beads, threaded together into a series of objects of remarkable originality, were encountered inside the tomb that made this pharaoh famous. The Eighteenth Dynasty in which Tutankhamun lived is incomparable in that aspect—beaded objects from this period show a unique creativity when compared to beadwork from other periods in Egyptian history. Photographs by Jolanda Bos-Seldenthuis and Bastiaan Seldenthuis.


  Carol Sauvion’s Craft in America
by Carolyn L. E. Benesh
   Carol Sauvion  as seen in Ornament Magazine Denise Wallaceas seen in Ornament Magazine Kit Carson as seen in Ornament Magazine
  Almost eleven years ago Carol Sauvion first raised the possibility of producing what is now the reality of Craft in America. She says it was in the garden of her atrium that she first told me about the project. That particular night I no longer have in my mind, but I do remember thinking, if anyone could achieve such a monumental venture, it would be Carol Sauvion; and this appeared to be among the most reasonable visions in the world. It seemed so right.

I have kept that memory in my heart as I have watched her build Craft in America from nothing to the achievement it is about to become as it soon launches to inform the American public. To understand why anyone would voluntarily go through unremittingly difficult years, and also such exhilarating ones, as Sauvion did with what has finally resulted in the successful completion of the Craft in America project, is simply stated—it was her labor of love, her passion, her desire to give a beautiful and healthy gift to America itself and American craft in particular. I say to myself, and to others that will hear this message, that such creations can still exist in the United States of today. Photographs by Lloyd Solly, Robert K. Liu, Doug Hill.


  Kristina Logan
by Jill DeDominicis

Kristina Logan as seen in Ornament Magazine Kristina Logan as seen in Ornament Magazine

  Master Class in Glass Beadmaking
As students gather in the Blue Dolphin Stained Glass Studio in San Diego, California, renowned glass artist Kristina Logan (Ornament Volume 21, No.4, 1998) gets right to business. It is the second day of her two-part glass beadmaking workshop and students are anxious to experience another day at the torch under Logan’s careful, encouraging guidance. The workshop, organized with Heather Trimlett (Ornament Volume 26, No.3, 2003), another nationally-recognized glass bead artist, is a separate and special addition to the regular eight-week lampworking courses Trimlett offers at the Blue Dolphin.

The students’ experiences and strengths may vary, but all are present for a similar purpose: to hone their glass beadmaking skills and gain control and precision in their movements. It is safe to say they could not have chosen a better teacher to demonstrate the ways of precision lampworking than Logan, an artist celebrated for her geometric and exacting dotted glass beads and one whose history in the redevelopment of glass beadmaking as an artform runs deep.
Photographs by Robert K. Liu/Ornament. 

Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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