ORNAMENT Volume 30 No. 1


Steven Ford and David Forlano. The Delicate Aesthetic Balance of Equivalent Terms
Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show 2006
Vladimir Péter. Elevating Everyday Life
Diane Harty. Hats for Literal and Metaphorical Travels
Ron Ho. Sought and Found
Peter Schilling. A Passion for Jade
Suzanne Perilman. Distilling Mystery
An Ornamental Heritage. Ethnic Egyptian Silver Jewelry

 
 

To some degree this kind of disinterested, see-what-may-develop approach to collaboration has shaped the jewelry that Steven Ford and David Forlano have produced together for the past fifteen years. Despite the financial success of their endeavor, marketability has by mutual agreement never taken precedence over artistic concerns. The two have willingly, indeed eagerly, accepted a certain degree of aesthetic risk: not the sort of risk that accompanies an impetuous leap into the void but rather the more calculated form of risk that comes with consigning one’s vulnerable ideas to the nurture of another.

 

They probably will not play the theme song from the movie Rocky as one hundred ninety-five craft artists from across America—and twenty-six from Finland—bear their creations into the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, but there should be some kind of fanfare. After all, 2006 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, one of the most distinguished in the world—and this year’s edition looks to be among the most exciting on record.

 

Wladis Gallery is on a corner of Falk Miksa Utca, a tree-lined street just off the Danube River, on the bustling Pest side of Budapest. Wladis is a Germanized form of Vladi, the nickname of owner Vladimir Péter, whose silver jewelry is featured at the gallery. A metalsmith and designer, Péter is the founding spirit of the Hungarian contemporary jewelry movement.

 

Sculpture-like objects are ambiguous, reducible neither to sculpture nor to mundane reality, although they partake of each to some degree. The potential of the hat to be sculpture-like in this sense is what attracted Colorado artist Diane Harty to the medium over a decade ago. The hats that she has produced through the years, even the most elegant and complex examples, remain functional objects that are clearly intended to be employed as such. At the same time, Harty conceives of them as catalysts: means of psychological metamorphosis, keys to self-discovery, or modes for metaphorical exploration of alternative realities.

 
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For many decades Ron Ho, who turns seventy this month, has been one of the region’s most respected jewelry artists. His exquisitely designed neckpieces and pendants are admired for their evocative references to Asian cultures, especially Chinese culture, and for their sheer beauty. But since the 2005 death of his mentor and great friend Ramona Solberg, Ho has also become the Pacific Northwest’s senior master of a particularly exuberant, boundary breaking philosophy about jewelry art that has flourished in the Seattle area under a succession of artists.