Ramona Solberg Volume 38.5 Preview

Ramona Solberg's Fibulae

FIBULA PIN of sterling silver wire, formed, forged and filed, strung with molded Czech glass snake beads, bauxite bead, coconut shell disk bead, ostrich shell disk beads, vintage Chinese glass beads, African terracotta spindle whorl; forged/drilled dangles of silver, bronze and copper, metal bead, stone beads, copper metal disk, Venetian glass bead, many from the African trade; 13.6 centimeters wide, dating from mid-1980s. Spring portion of pin forged to work harden it; priced eighty-five dollars when purchased in 1988. Carolyn L. E. Benesh/Ornament Collection. Photographs by Robert K. Liu/Ornament.


The late Ramona Solberg’s found object style of jewelry continues to influence the work of Northwest jewelers Laurie Hall, Ron Ho, Kiff Slemmons, Nancy Worden, and others (Brown 2014; Updike 2001, 2006). Warm and effusive when speaking about the work of her peers, Solberg called herself the Henry Ford of jewelry, and rightly so (Benesh 1989, 2001; Liu 1995). An inveterate traveler and lover of the material culture of the many countries she visited, Solberg often combined her metalwork with beads, which she collected on her trips, and was responsible for two of the best bead jewelry exhibitions (1988, 1998) held in the United States, at the Bellevue Art Museum.


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Robert K. Liu is Coeditor of Ornament and for many years its in-house photographer. His new book, The Photography of Personal Adornment, covers forty plus years of shooting jewelry, clothing and events related to wearable art, both in and out of the Ornament studio. He hopes to begin teaching photography to interested students later this year. In this issue Liu writes about Hal and Margie Hiestand, two extraordinary, self-trained jewelers from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and about the pricing of well-known contemporary jewelers’ work when they pass, in reference to the fibulae of the late Ramona Solberg, a beloved Northwest artist.