from the editors
Dear Ornament Reader,
The last months of the calendar year are especially devoted to expressions of gratitude. With this in mind and with full hearts, Ornament wishes our friends the world over the best and most peaceful of times as we move into a season of giving thanks. We inhabit a perpetually changing universe that has been touched everywhere by nature’s sublime beauty. For Earth, transformation is marked each year through its distinct but inextricably linked four seasons, those recognizable expressions of the forever-turning wheel of life. The more we know about this world, the more we will make it a little more meaningful and beautiful, and the more our existence will be about its celebration.
Within every issue of Ornament such as the one you are now holding in your hands, our celebration is viewed through the lens of the artistic experience and the infinite, manifold ways of creating. As just one such example there is the elegant minimalism of Susan Bradley’s clothing. Over the decades Bradley has challenged herself with ever more reductive refinement in the use of color and her materials—now having reduced her palette to essentially black. David Freda is passionate about the natural world, particularly plants and animals, and in order to do them justice seeks to replicate them accurately, which he achieves in an awe inspiring, astonishing manner. Freda considers his endeavors as “pretty sacred,” and the result is a wondrous tribute to the power of life on our little planet.
There is also a side to human creation that is much more ignoble, as Glen Brown points out in his review of “Glitterati: Portraits & Jewelry from Colonial Latin America.” The exploitation of native peoples has been ongoing over the millennia, and forced labor being one of its reprehensible attributes. “In Colombia,” he writes, “the inhabitants of the Muzo region died in the emerald mines they no longer controlled; from Peru to Honduras to Mexico, native populations were compelled to mine silver until their numbers became so depleted that African slaves were imported to take their place.” Such events have nothing to do with the joy of being and rather belong to the darkness that also inhabits our souls. We do well to acknowledge them and work to eliminate them from the human experience.
We hope you will be fulfilled and stimulated as you read each of these presentations. There is much more to enjoy and contemplate in this issue—and to look forward to in the promise of more Ornament to come. Thank you for joining our odyssey, we are deeply grateful for your presence in our lives.