From the Editors 35.3


Dear Ornament Reader,


Wherever Jim Cotter’s eyes lead him, they are beacons searching for the unusual among the usual. He has the delightful ability to usually succeed in finding the unexpected among the commonplace, creating singular objects of humor and irony, ever appreciative of life, even with, as he says, “my other personality,” making jewelry containing precious gold and diamonds. Author Ashley Callahan tells how “Cotter is charmingly modest about his work, and suggests that his is not as important as the work of artists who can ‘expound upon the way their work is going to affect the world,’ but he is also confident about what he makes: ‘Mine may just momentarily make you smile, feel good, choose joy.’ ”

Leslie Clark details how one artist from New Mexico, Juanita Girardin, perceives the evolution of the craft movement and her three decades of creating on cloth. “I’m always going in a new direction,” Girardin observes. “I see so many people doing what they were doing in the ’80s. How can they be artists? I don’t think wearable art has gone away; it’s just a term that nobody likes anymore. I mean, I’m not a fashion designer and I’m not a draper. I’ll try to take what I can find and make it relevant, but I’m not about the shape of a garment so much as I am about the surface, and in that the legacy of the wearable art movement still persists.”

Twenty-nine years ago in our first cover feature on artist Mary Lee Hu, we described how Hu works through a storehouse of evolving iterations, with an intense interest focused on how, through lengths of wire, silver or gold, surface patterns emerge that flow over and through a form. It is fundamental to her life’s work and gives her jewelry a timelessness and vitality that continue today. She is currently being honored in a retrospective at Washington state’s Bellevue Arts Museum, through June 17. This magnificent show is accompanied by a detailed and complete catalog: Knitted, Knotted, Twisted & Twined: The Jewelry of Mary Lee Hu.

The Smithsonian Craft Show has spent the last thirty years bringing together the public and artists in a beautiful venue, the National Building Museum, in Washington, D.C. Showing April 19-22, this once-a-year experience is not to be missed, with a refined selection of some of the best working in craft today, truly a celebration of the handmade by American artisans. While our article cites a number of artists for discussion of their particular artwork, it is also a clarion call to action for craft as a vehicle for positive change.

Robin Updike produces an engaging portrait of jeweler Emanuela Duca, Italian by birth, but New Yorker by choice. Updike senses that Duca’s jewelry has an enduring quality that emanates from her passion for metal, and an aesthetic that is a “sumptuous blend of the archaic and contemporary.” Duca points out that her work is a form of personal research. “I begin a collection and find a language and I am satisfied with it. I make pieces and then I go on to something else. Then after a while I come back to what I left behind because I’ve learned something new; I have something to add to the idea I had before.”

Completing this issue is one more feature article on the personal experience of fashioning jewelry from bamboo, an exploration of utilizing a substance from the natural world as a material for making. We also introduce a new feature in Questions/Answers, with Chris Irick the subject of this Q&A.

Thank you for being part of our world—together let us choose joy as the ultimate response to the beauty of the handmade.


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Our upcoming issue 37.4 contains


Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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