from the editors
Dear Ornament Reader,
We are so enthusiastic about this issue and of our being able to share it with you. A neverending source of wonderment to us is how much beauty and history has been contained within Ornament for over forty-three years. It would be impossible to present a complete picture of personal adornment, but in every issue we add to this fascinating subject, illuminating it a little more. Welcome, and enjoy.
Usha R. Balakrishnan takes us into India’s Thar Desert where its goldsmiths have produced ornaments dating over the millennia—their cultural meanings transcribed from raw materials into objects that carry on India’s traditions and historical influences. You will view jewelry of incomparable elegance and craftsmanship, and be as astonished as we are.
Ornament contributor Ashley Callahan describes the world of jewelry that Barbara Mann inhabits: an infinite world in which fascinated by interpretations of the cosmos in nature and science, she searches for greater understanding of the life cycle of birth and death, not just in the universe but our temporal one on Mother Earth.
Glen R. Brown relates the conditions and experiences by which one family makes its works individually and collaboratively. We are introduced to family matriarch Connie Tsosie-Gaussoin and her sons Jerry Jr., David and Wayne Nez, and daughter Tazbah Gaussoin. Descended from Navajo silversmiths and weavers and Picuris Pueblo potters, the Gaussoins come naturally to the concept that creativity is a resource to be shared and there is responsibility to the larger community. “That’s something that my mom has always taught us,” David asserts. “It’s not right to just be taking. You have to give back.” It is a world of mutual benefit, as Connie explains, “Artists are the ones in the world who keep the whole universe alive. Things are moving well because of us, not just this family, but all creative people. To be an artist is to create but also to share.”
Leslie Clark shows how Julie Powell’s bead embroidery emerges from an inquisitive, exploratory nature. “My general process is learning about how to use your hands and doing it so you understand it, whether it’s dyeing, weaving, quilting, knitting with multiple colors; whatever it is, learn how to do it, do it again and again, repeat it and learn.” A self-taught beadworker, Powell’s jewelry resonates with a glowing luminosity. In artfully arranged color palettes she combines light and dark, hue, value, tone, whatever interests her at the moment of creating.
Thank you for participating in our common odyssey: one of growth, change and endless possibilities. See you next issue.