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Volume 33 No.1 2009


Ornament Magazine

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Cover Feature: Kiwon Wang


Kiwon Wang Making Conscious Decisions. Alexandra Hart All About Form. Mobilia Gallery A Showcase for Compelling Art. 2009 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. Ruth Funk Creations in Cloth. Articles of Hope Adornments for Justice. Exhibition Signs of Life. Fiber Arts American Beauty. Ancient Worlds Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Jewelry Arts Adorn: Wearable Art & Non-Functional Jewelry. Art of Design Artistic Luxury. Marketplace Leekan Designs.

Kiwon Wang
by Robin Updike 
Kiwon Wang

Making Conscious Decisions
Early in her career as a jewelry artist Kiwon Wang settled on her basic palette of materials: pearls, paper and metals. Having grown up in a traditional Korean house with shoji screens used as interior walls, Wang has a deep connection to paper. “The first thing I remember seeing was those shoji walls made of paper. So as a child I drew on the shoji,” Wang says. She is drawn to pearls not only by their beauty but also by the intrinsic drama of their existence. “We have pearls because of the suffering of oysters. Without the grain of sand that irritates the oyster, there would be no pearl.” And metal? Wang uses metals––silver, gold and steel cables––to create structure for her neckpieces, brooches, earrings, tiaras, and rings, which, despite their minimalist look, are intricate tiny sculptures. Photographs by James Beards.


   Alexandra Hart
by Jill A. DeDominicis
Alexandra Hart

All About Form
Standing or resting on the table in her San Diego studio, Alexandra Hart’s metal creations look more like undersea creatures or species from some futuristic terrarium than wearable jewelry. Her mostly gold, bi-metal and sterling silver pieces twist, writhe and unfurl, and are “all about form.” Examining each one, holding them and allowing one’s fingers to sweep over the bumps, spikes and curves, the viewer is left with an indirect notion of the intricate forms of nature. For centuries nature has been muse to artists the world over, to those who hope to invoke its boundless beauty through their modest hands and materials. Of course, beauty in nature is easy to find—in the bright colors of a bird’s feathers, the geometric patterns of a beetle’s markings, the sensuous forms of an orchid. But perhaps our fascination with nature, and the very reason it remains an undying source of inspiration, is not simply its endless splendor, but its deeper paradox of beauty and danger. Photograph by Ralph Gabriner.


    Mobilia Gallery
by Elizabeth Frankl
Mobilia Gallery

A Showcase for Compelling Art
The first time I ever visited Mobilia Gallery, located in a quiet, historic neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I was astonished to see that the front window display was full of toast. Gallery owners (and sisters) JoAnne and Libby Cooper were showing an installation by artists John McQueen and Margo Mensing that recreated the famous wave by the Japanese artist Hokusai—made entirely out of toast. “The toast! We had more comments on that show than on any other show,” laughs JoAnne. “It was John McQueen and Margo Mensing’s idea. They wanted to do an installation called Comestibles that had to do with food. So John and Margo were thinking of Hokusai’s wave, the wonderful woodblock print that everybody knows, and they called the installation A Sea of Toast. They actually took the toast out of the toaster and wrapped it around a bottle so that it curved. They must have had a heck of a time! A sea of toast—that was what they wanted to do and we went along with it.”  Photographs courtesy of Mobilia Gallery.


  2009 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show
by Patrick R. Benesh-Liu   
2009 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show

The names for the seasons call to mind different images for different people, but for those who live in landscapes which visibly change with the coming of fall and its older sibling, these two are the most evocative. The burnished gold and crimson of the fallen leaves and the piling snowdrifts which crunch underfoot unmistakably have a texture as well as an emotion that are inevitably intimated whenever these words are uttered: Autumn and Winter. Quite unlike the nigh perpetual summer of, say, Southern California, in Philadelphia one gets immersed in these vividly seasonal progressions. Taking place from November 11 to November 15, in the warmly decorated compound of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the thirty-third annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show seems to be perfectly placed for its theme and purpose, an enjoyable and satisfying five-day respite of exceptional art and craft amidst late fall and the onset of winter. Photographs courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.


Ruth Funk
by Anne Straub
  Ruth Funk

Creations in Cloth
Ruth Funk might owe the genesis of her artistic expression to necessity borne of her move to Florida in 1985. She and her husband, Seeley, had been living in upstate New York, but he sought retirement in a golf community where he could pursue his favorite hobby year-round. Her only requisites were that the community offer an art museum and a symphony orchestra. They settled in Melbourne, on the East Coast, and soon Funk began to develop a new appreciation for the meaning of the term “heat index.” Her pleated wool skirts and Pendleton suits were unwearable, except on a handful of the coolest days. Unable to find heat-friendly clothes that appealed to her, she began sewing her own. “I’d wear an outfit similar to this and people would say, ‘Where did you get that?’ ” she says, gesturing toward her flowing blue and green ikat tunic with a cord-trimmed mandarin collar over matching slacks. Inset blue panels on both pieces accent the dominant color of the fabric. A smaller, top-stitched green fabric rectangle adds interest to the top. That was the practical start of a creative explosion for Funk, whose designs now fill a university textile center that bears her name. Photographs by Dominic Augustini. Courtesy of Panache Partners, LLC.


  Articles of Hope
by Rowena Golton

Adornment for Justice
In the northwest of England, Manchester was once home to Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, two renowned women who fought tirelessly for women’s right to vote in Britain. The jewelry of the suffragette movement demonstrated allegiance to the cause, but also sought to provoke and protest. The early days of batch production also allowed an opportunity to create jewelry as a fundraising mechanism. Today we are more familiar with the Red or White Poppy Appeal, Pink Lapel Ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness or the White Wristbands adopted by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. But where in the call for “jewelry with a conscience” does that leave those of us who produce one-offs or limited editions? Can the art jewelry we produce speak for injustice? Can it challenge, inspire and educate? Can it promote real change? With this in mind, and inspired by the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2008, the Manchester Jewellers Network created a new exhibition earlier in 2009—Articles of Hope, Adornments for Justice. Through the medium of art jewelry eleven members interpreted eleven Articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to create unusual, individual and often personal jewelry pieces in which material value is secondary to design and creativity. Photographs by Jonathan Keenan.



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