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Volume 31 No.5 2008

Ornament Magazine

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Cover Feature: Art Nouveau Jewelry


Art Nouveau Jewelry Preserving Nature's Beauty. Starr Hagenbring Coats of Many Colors. Georgia's Ring Shows Pretty Cocky Stuff. Santa Fe Weaving Gallery Supporting the Art of Dress. Ken Bova A Soft Tech Methodology. Native American Silversmiths & The Curio Trade. Paithani Saris An Indian Textile Tradition. Roman Mosaic Face Plaques and Beads. Artist Statement Susan Lenart Kazmer. Artist Statement Tamara Hill. Exhibition Peruvian Featherworks. Conference International Bead Conference.

Art Nouveau Jewelry
by Yvonne Markowitz
and Susan Ward
Art Nouveau Jewelry Art Nouveau Jewelry

Preserving Nature's Beauty
The Art Nouveau movement, which flourished in Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, found its fullest expression in poster art, architecture and the decorative arts, including jewelry. Flamboyant and fantastical, the Art Nouveau style was characterized by whiplash curves, asymmetric design, dramatic imagery, and vivid symbolism. In many ways, Art Nouveau was a reaction against industrialism and nineteenth century historicism with its many reincarnations and revivals; at the dawn of a new century, artists looked forward rather than backward. The jewelry designers associated with the movement rejected the platinum and diamond look characteristic of high-style jewelry, preferring gold, enamel, colored gemstones, horn, ivory, and glass over more precious materials. For them, the value of a piece of jewelry lay in its artistry and craftsmanship, not in its inherent worth.
Photographs by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


   Starr Hagenbring
by Robin Updike
Starr Hagenbring Starr Hagenbring

Coats of Many Colors
Walk into Starr Hagenbring’s work studio/living space on New York’s Upper West Side and it takes about fifteen seconds to figure out that when it comes to aesthetics, Hagenbring has a point of view that defies conventional definitions of style and beauty. There is a gold arabesque pattern painted at regular intervals on the turquoise walls of the living room/sitting room—she painted the walls and the arabesques herself—and drawings, paintings and small sculptures made by herself and friends hang from the walls, crowd into each other on the fireplace mantle, and even dangle from hooks in the ceiling. Having a living room about half the size of a single car garage does not seem to diminish her zeal for décor. With its dozens of artworks, its plush chaise lounge, dramatically high ceilings and ornate gold accents, the room manages to conjure images of Paris ateliers and baroque boudoirs. Photographs by Tom McInvaille.


    GeorgiaĆ¢s Ring Shows
by Ashley Callahan
Georgia’s Ring Shows Georgia’s Ring Shows

Pretty Cocky Stuff
When jeweler Mary Hallam Pearse arrived at the University of Georgia in 2005, she found an odd collection of rings tucked away on glass shelves in a vintage wooden display case along a back wall in the jewelry and metalwork studio, largely obscured by dust. Inside were hundreds of rings with faded tags listing quirky titles and names of artists—many of whom are now considered leaders in the field, such as Jamie Bennett, Harlan Butt, the late Ken Cory, Robert Ebendorf, Susan Kingsley, Rod McCormick, Bruce Metcalf, Jim Meyer, Barbara Walter, and Nancy Worden. Her surprise elicited colorful tales from her friends and colleagues involved with their creation: University of Georgia jewelry and metalwork professor Rob Jackson, jeweler and gallery owner Jim Cotter, SUNY New Paltz metal/jewelry professor Jamie Bennett, and University of Georgia professor emeritus for jewelry and metalwork Gary Noffke. She learned that in the mid-1970s, Cotter and Noffke, with jewelers Lane Coulter and Elliott Pujol, decided over drinks at Summervail, a summer metalsmithing symposium at Colorado Mountain College held from 1975 to 1985, to organize a group jewelry exhibition and travel it to schools and galleries across the country. Noffke, who arrived at the University of Georgia in 1971 (following Robert Ebendorf’s tenure there, from 1967-1971), took the lead and decided that the show should be limited to rings in order to encourage the artists to deal with content rather than just style and technique. Under his direction, the Jewelry and Metalwork area in the Department of Art (now the Lamar Dodd School of Art) organized the first of three annual National Ring Shows in 1977 and established the Phi Beata Heata National Ring Collection. Thirty years later, this remarkable collection remains as a document of that exciting episode in American craft history. Photographs by Wes Airgood, except where noted. Courtesy of the Georgia Museum of Art.


     The Santa Fe Weaving Gallery
by Leslie Clark
Supporting the Art of Dress
The Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, then and now, takes up a miniscule three hundred square feet inside an old adobe building on Galisteo Street. Founded in 1976 by two weavers, Victoria Rabinowe and Nancy Paap, it opened just as the art-to-wear movement was gathering momentum. Hippies on handlooms had inspired the ideal of handspun, handwoven and hand-dyed fabric. With the arrival of fiber artists creating complex, avant-garde designs, the dynamic shifted to one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces that rose to stardom on the contemporary art scene and wound up in museum collections. Through the eighties the Santa Fe Weaving Gallery prospered, along with the fortunes of baby boomers looking for a form of self-expression reflecting the free-wheeling attitude of the sixties. Along the way the gallery helped make the so-called Santa Fe Style a hot fashion phenomenon.
Photographs courtesy of Santa Fe Weaving Gallery and the artists.


  Ken Bova
by Jill A. DeDominicis
Ken Bova Ken Bova

A Soft Tech Methodology
As an undergraduate student studying drawing and painting, Ken Bova had not exactly planned on becoming a jeweler, or even a metalsmith. Although he dabbled in jewelrymaking on a few occasions, it was not until he was reacquainted with the discipline in a sculpture class that he would begin
to acknowledge a growing passion for metalwork. His professor taught him small-scale casting as partial payment for installing sheetrock in a studio, and the seeds of what would prove to be a fruitful career were planted. Despite the switch in disciplines, Bova’s painting and drawing background would remain a lasting foundation in his work. “I actually thought I would be a smith,” he recalls of his early days. “I was interested in vessel forms, but my painting training kept creeping back into it and everything I did tended to be frontal. I did a lot of drawing and it was something of a struggle for me to think three-dimensionally, so I came to a revelation about the end of my first year in graduate school that wearable was more interesting to me than the functional aspect of metalsmithing. I devoted myself to making wearable work at that point.” All photographs by Ken Bova.


Native American Silversmiths & the Curio Trade
by Cheri Falkenstien-Doyle
  Native American Silversmiths   & the Curio Trade

Showing through April 19, 2009, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian’s newest exhibition, From the Railroad to Route 66: The Native American Curio Trade in New Mexico, and its accompanying catalog are the result of more than fifteen years’ research by museum director Jonathan Batkin.1 Through objects, images and ephemera, Batkin traces the history of the trade in Native American souvenirs from its roots in Rocky Mountain railroad towns of the nineteenth century, to the years just prior to World War II, when the manufacture of Indian-style jewelry for white consumers provided wage labor for young Navajo and Pueblo men, but threatened the livelihoods of traditional craftsmen.The trade in Native American curios followed the opening of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1869. Trains made it possible for self-styled adventurers like taxidermist Martha A. Maxwell, who opened her Rocky Mountain Museum in Boulder, Colorado in 1873, to ship goods and literature across the country. Promoting themselves as naturalists, explorers and daredevils, curio dealers of the 1870s marketed mounted animals, mineral specimens (the by-products of Colorado mining operations), and artifacts procured from “vanishing” Indian peoples. Photographs courtesy of the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe, New Mexico.


  Paithani Saris
by Chitra Balasubramaniam
  Paithani Saris Paithani Saris

An Indian Textile Tradition
An Indian textile tradition traversing centuries, the grandeur of Paithani silk saris is striking—bright warm colors of parrot green, shocking pink teamed with expansive pallavs (the visible end of the sari which hangs loose on the back when draped (usually three-fourths of a meter or more in length), with borders in zari (golden threads). Its shimmering gold pallav and border is extravagantly peppered with silken motifs, painstakingly worked by hand. Matching the body of the sari is twin-colored silk, creating a double-shaded effect. Paithani sari is an inherent part of Maharashtrian (people of the state of Maharashtra with Mumbai as its capital) tradition, used on all auspicious occasions and a must for a bride’s trousseau. It is described in folk lore and sung in countless lavani (the typical folk dance of Maharashtra). A precious cultural symbol, couplets and poems have been written about paithani, describing a woman’s yearning for another beautiful piece as a gift from her beloved or the feelings brought forth by a treasured sari bestowed by a respected grandmother. Photograph courtesy of the Maharashtra Small Scale Industries Development Corporation Limited, India.


  Roman Mosaic Face Plaques and Beads
by Robert K. Liu
Roman Mosaic Face Plaques and BeadsRoman Mosaic Face Plaques and Beads

Luxury objects in antiquity were often made of glass, none more so than the intricate theater mask miniatures composed of mosaic glass, from the Ptolomaic-Roman periods of Egypt, as well as their more simple manifestations in early and late Roman mosaic face beads. Most authorities date the mosaic mask plaques and early face beads to the first century B.C. and first century A.D., while some place the beads to the first century A.D., with the late Roman face beads associated with the fourth and fifth centuries (Stern and Schlick-Nolte 1994; Stout 1985, 1986). Even now, some two thousand years later, anyone viewing these thin plaques or canes of glass will be awestruck by the complexity possible in such a small dimension, especially since so few know how such glass objects were made. For the wealthy Romans and others in the ancient world who were the recipients of such ornaments, undoubtedly the sense of wonder and mystery would be much greater, at a time when information about making of glass was either nonexistent or closely guarded by the few glass craftsmen who were able to perform these techniques. Photographs by Robert K. Liu/Ornament.


Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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