From the Editors 36.3
Dear Ornament Reader,
As with all of Ornament, this current issue illustrates how artists freely range through their own imaginative territories, seeking new forms, looking for new modes of expression, and for new ideas in the development and enrichment of their artforms. The heart of their work is centered in their due diligence to the process of making something from nothing, following the concrete steps necessary to advancing their creations.
The importance of process as the locus of creation is further explored as the theme for our annual article on the Smithsonian Craft Show, now in its thirty-first year. How objects are initially imagined and how they arrive at a complete and resolved materiality are as individual as each artist. Glass artist Carrie Gustafson says, “You just show up! For me the peace I receive from just being in my studio is incomparable; and how my studio work is going has a profound affect on my mood. For the most part making things is like breathing for me—it’s a part of my being.”
For Hatmaker Renee Roder-Early process begins with a sketch. “From my sketches I make a pattern, which always takes some tweaking until I get the shape I envision,” she says. “This part of hatmaking I think of as engineering the hat. I love this process, it is probably the most difficult and can be frustrating but when it finally works it’s like magic.”
Another artist in the Smithsonian Craft Show is jeweler Patricia Madeja and she also considers engineering to be a rewarding challenge. “I love working at my bench,” she says. “Many people say my work is crazy and technically complex. I respond by saying ‘making my work is what keeps me sane.’ The process that begins with a spark of a concept, and then the challenge of solving the engineering to make that idea work is the most rewarding to me. Making work is a lifelong process. The more work you make the more technically advanced you become and the more complex the designs can become.”
Lola Brooks, whose work author Ashley Callahan describes as “luxurious excess,” pointedly honors her commitment to traditional techniques and processes. “I definitely believe that a solid technical foundation is a necessity,” she says. “If you can do it in metal, then you can transfer those skills into any other material.” While Brooks’s jewelry might be considered flamboyant and dramatic, the core of her art emanates from her thoughtful, serious awareness of what it takes to get art made and made well.
Master jeweler Eleanor Moty reveals how much she is drawn to the work of the brilliant sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. Influenced by the natural world, his environmental art is intimately tied to process and in this sense a tribute to and culmination of nature’s ever-present cycling of birth, growth, decay, and death. “I have become aware of how nature is in a state of change,” he says, “and how that change is the key to understanding.” We are all participants in nature’s driving force whether we are living our lives or making artworks and we do well to heed its message. For that awareness of the transitional, temporal, transformative energy of living and of simply being helps connect us with our essential selves.
These articles, and more in this issue, are stimulating lessons for how artists contemplate and embrace creating objects of integrity and beauty, balancing substance and spirit, as they work their personal magic via the process of making. So welcome, dear reader, and thank you for joining our common journey, helping us to extend ourselves through our pages in unsuspected and surprising and always fulfilling ways.
Our upcoming issue 36.3 contains
Smithsonian Craft Show
Women Working Words-Facèré
Some of Our Popular Articles