ORNAMENT Volume 29 No. 1

Features

Dressing a Galaxy The Costumes of Star Wars.
Bellevue Arts Museum. 
2005 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show
. 
Terri Logan
The Art of Silver and Stone. 
Kevin Coates A Glorious Obsession. 
Tutankhamun’s Broadcollars Unusual and Otherwise. 
Amy Kahn Russell Fusion Jewelry Artist. 

Departments

Exhibition Opulent Splendor. 
Ethnographic Arts Ornaments of the Marquesas. 
Bead Arts Venetian Bead Sample Cards. 
Marketplace Leekan Designs. 
Museum News Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. 
Ancient Arts Salmon Ruins Museum and Research Library.

 
 
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With the opening of Dressing a Galaxy at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum, in Downtown Los Angeles, comes a unique opportunity to see fashion, not from some Parisian designer or times long past, but from a modern-day fairytale. The FIDM has put together a well arranged, succinct show packed with paraphernalia from the new Star Wars trilogy, and even a few pieces from the old.

 
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Strolling through the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington, just twelve miles east of downtown Seattle, it is hard to miss the excitement and sense of purpose that wafts through its galleries like a cool breeze following a feverish spell of heat. Founded thirty years ago as a showcase for craft, the museum drifted away from it roots in recent years and flirted, disastrously as it turned out, with contemporary art and a watered-down version of the avant-garde.

 
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On final approach to its thirtieth anniversary in 2006, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show’s enduring standard is even more palpable this year, as it continues to honor the artistry of the handmade. Show Manager Nancy O’Meara has exceeded participant expectations year after year, through her vision and diligence, achieving success with this venue for sixteen years. It is evident that O’Meara’s own professional craftsmanship contributes to this accomplishment.

 
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In the small, turn-of-the-century town of Richmond, Indiana, Terri Logan creates some of contemporary art’s most soulful modern jewelry, embodying a pitch-perfect, abstract elegance. Its appeal is striking and immediate. Fabricated by hand in slim, sculptural yet sinuous forms of sterling and fine silver, her brooches, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings frame river rocks, virtually the only stone she uses.

 
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Kevin Coates has been hailed as Britain’s leading artist-goldsmith, a true master who, for over thirty years, has created not only jewelry, but also tablepieces, trophies, medals, and sculptures, all of which are well-represented in numerous prestigious public and private collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, the Royal Museum of Scotland, and, most recently, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. Known for his remarkable carving and modeling skills, and the powerful, lyrical images he conjures, his work has been exhibited in Europe, the United States, Australia, Japan, Israel, and widely displayed in Britain.

 
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While photographing the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I was intrigued by the only broadcollar of his that was on display. Not shown in the previous viewing of this famous pharaoh, except for a very simplified sheet-gold version (Anonymous 1972: 29), this example is essentially an imitation of a bead broadcollar or wesekh, specifically a broadcollar with gold falcon terminals. Illustrated in the current catalog, once before in a well-known survey of Egyptian jewelry, and almost lifesize this year in another book on Tutankhamun, this bead simulation, in which plaques of stone are grooved to imitate cylinder beads, has been rarely shown elsewhere.

 
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Her agenda is wonderfully ambitious. As Amy Kahn Russell puts it, “I try to have something for everybody,” noting in the next breath that that goal is not always possible. Some of her pieces are bold and brash, yet she also produces smaller scale jewelry for the more conservative customer. “I’m only five feet tall and I wear quite big things,” she explains, but intimate and discreet are also part of her jewelry vocabulary.