From the Editors 37.4


Dear Ornament Reader,


Working our way through our fortieth anniversary of publishing is certainly some cause for bemusement and reflection, or perhaps more accurately bemused reflection. We formally began on May 1, 1974 when our legal papers were put into place and followed with Volume 1, No. 1 of The Bead Journal that summer. Only the cover was in color; it measured 5 x 7 inches, with thirty-two pages; sent to three hundred subscribers—whose names and addresses had been carefully written by hand onto 3 x 5 inch ruled cards (remember those?)—via bulk mail. It was an entrepreneurial effort by two people, supported by their family and friends who believed in their mission of illuminating the world of personal adornment to those interested in just such a subject.


We thought we could do it all: ancient, ethnographic, contemporary, guided by a mostly inchoate vision of what we could bring to the field, but taking it step-by-step, building a universe that an interested readership could enter and make wonderful discoveries within. We would invite them to respond to the siren call of the beautiful, traditional, innovative, and informative. Forty years, and one hundred fifty-six issues later, what we developed into is being held not only in your hands as a physical presence, still on paper, but also part of that vast incongruous vapor called being online. It is a state we both embrace and regard with misgiving.


The forces of transformation and challenge that pulsed through our beginning in the twentieth century have carried over into the twenty-first. We have experienced the pleasure and the stress of an explosion of knowledge and inventions, of dramatic changes in the social and political landscapes, with no one left untouched by them and nothing remaining the same. It is the primal wheel of life turning, continuing its evolution, both beneficial and destructive as that duality carries the human imprint.


All of us are on personal and professional journeys—ours has been forty years within a much longer lifetime. As we have sought answers to the questions that stimulate our lives, we must do so not just in isolation or in contemplation but through the vital comradeship with others that life bestows on us, and enables our shared perspectives as participants in creative endeavors.

Thank you for being a member of our community of fellow explorers in art and craft, and for helping us to enjoy the seasons of our lives in this most astonishing of places. We are greatly blessed.

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