ORNAMENT Volume 30 No. 4


Mary Kanda. Capturing Nature in Mosaics
Karen Lorene's Signs of Life
Jane Herzenberg. A Dazzling Pageant
Cynthia Eid. Delighting in the Unexpected
Si Hoang. Ao Dai Artistry
Sole Stories. Trekking from Past to Present

 
 

Commercials these days want to sell us serenity. Buy this car, and drive all alone through a rolling countryside. Use that credit card, and meditate in a stone temple far away. Rather than promise us escape from a harried world, Mary Kanda’s jewelry instead draws us into a state of cool, calibrated awareness. Like small beacons of clarity, Kanda’s beaded mosaics attract the eye with the artful simplicity of a Japanese aesthetic, layered with a strong visual direction that delivers a hip, contemporary zing.

 

The publication is called Signs of Life and someone thumbing through it for the first time understandably might be confused. Is Signs of Life an exhibition catalog? A literary journal? An elegantly published compendium of lapidary literary miniatures and jewelry artworks that tells stories? Signs of Life is all of those things. Now in its third year, the journal serves as the catalog for an annual group show of art jewelry organized by Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery in Seattle, Washington. But it is also a literary journal in which accomplished and in some cases renowned writers from around the country write brief literary works inspired by specific pieces of jewelry.

 

Handpainted kimonos shimmered; Lotus jackets and Swing coats caught the eye; and scarves with fanciful embellishments created a wall of multi-hued patterns. On the broad floor of the Seaport World Trade Center at CraftBoston this past April, Jane Herzenberg’s booth stood out with its lively display of colorful garments. For this consummate fiber artist-designer, memories of the bazaars in Tibet visited on a trip across

 

Few metal artists are as comfortable with uncertainty and surprise in their work as Cynthia Eid. It is the delight in the spontaneous and unexpected that fuels Eid’s passion—and it is this same delight that is felt upon encountering her extraordinarily complex and compelling jewelry. She creates jewelry, hollowware and Judaica, and is a respected jewelry and metalsmithing instructor. Eid is able to create intricate, almost brocade-like patterns, waves, bends and twists, hollows and pockets, and almost impossibly tiny folds that often challenge your sense of the material.

 
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Though not quite as ubiquitous as the Japanese kimono, the ao dai, Vietnam’s iconic symbol of feminine beauty, continues to spread beyond her borders. The graceful ao dai is typically characterized by a tight hugging bodice, extending into two long flaps in front and back, worn over wide-leg trousers. Literally translated, ao dai means “long shirt.” But such a technical description could never do justice to the elegant ao dai of prominent Vietnamese designer Si Hoang.