From the Editors 34.3


Dear Ornament Reader,


The challenges of 2011 have already left us and every one we know breathless with wonderment and grief, both from nature’s forces and human ones as well. One could view it from the point of view of vast contemporary destablizations or part of the human continuum as we live and breathe on this planet Earth. Either way, to take heart when so many suffer is never an easy matter, but if it helps us become more compassionate and understanding in this difficult matter of living, and help blunt the sharp, paralyzing edge of pain so that we not regress, but move forward—reaching out to others—mindful of our true interconnectedness; then, well, maybe, we will have moved a little closer toward greater enlightenment.


The creation of beauty in the midst of turmoil has always been intrinsic to an artist’s journey. One has to be dedicated and driven like Isabelle de Borchgrave and Zandra Rhodes, who spend a lifetime working on developing their chosen modes of process, whether it is painting on canvasses of paper or silk chiffon. The result is pure genius, combining the due diligence of practicing the technique of craft with flights of fantasy, imagination, originality—that which makes an artist such a vital means of creative propulsion.


Roberto Capucci’s sixty-year career is visualized in an important exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Capucci described first as an Italian “boy wonder” grew to be esteemed for his sculptured dresses. Each dress a unique creation, this fine artist in fabric dramatically underscores that clothing’s function is also a form of performance art.


Charles Pinckney’s preference for expressing the regionalism of his surrounding is drawn from his love and dedication to his family and friends. Contributor Ashley Callahan says that the symbols employed in his jewelry “convey memories from his childhood, experiences related to him by others and his perspective on human nature.”


The article on this year’s Smithsonian Craft Show discusses how “the craft world is dealing with a generational shift that has all the inexorability of time itself. The two main choices for craft shows are specialization and balance: to either focus strongly on an established audience or to stir the pot. Neither of these need to be exclusive choices: treading a middle ground might be the better answer.”


Ken Loeber, one of the show participants along with his wife Dona Look, is sensitively portrayed by author Glen R. Brown. “From his point of view,” states Brown, “the distinction between a good brooch and an effective pedestal piece is merely a matter of scale. What accounts for the success of the former is precisely what determines the value of the latter: a pleasing dynamic between contour and volume, a skillful handling of materials, and most important, a consistent inventiveness in pursuit of a particular goal.”


Among all these artist veterans is newcomer Sally von Bargen whose energy and commitment to her newfound medium is quickly establishing her as one of the more interesting jewelers, securing, for one, the eye of director Karen Lorene of Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle. Notably self-taught, von Bargen’s relish for ornamental experimentation is an instructive demonstration of the power of taking a creative risk coupled with the plain hard work of making.

Thank you for sharing our world,


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Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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