ORNAMENT Volume 34 No. 5

Nancy Traugott. A Sense of Remembrance
Modernism in Miniature. Alice Fischer's Ceramic Jewelry and Buttons
Rachel Carren. A Study in Beauty
Nadine Kariya. Spiraling Arabesques
K. Riley. Painted Fauna and Flora—Branches of Silken Variation
Skye and Peter Ciesla. Paths of Intuition
Handstoning Jade Carvings
Guzang Miao Festival. Ceremonial Silver

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For all that casualness, her clothing still suggests a sense of occasion. It has nothing to do with social correctness, but more with how the woman wearing them appears to live, graciously, by her own rules. Even worn with jeans, the separate pieces convey an air of decorum and an essential femininity, like tea served in a china cup and saucer instead of a mug. “It’s definitely for independent, more adventurous people,” Nancy Traugott observes.

 

The October 1, 1945 cover of Vogue features a made-to-order hyacinth-gray dinner ensemble designed for the fashionable New York store, Henri Bendel. The jacket features four large ceramic buttons, and Alice Fischer, on her copy of the magazine, made a brief note: “My ceramic buttons.” The editors at Vogue did not include her name in the description of the outfit and knowledge of this prominent appearance of her artistry might have been lost except for the diligence of the executors of her estate in preserving the scrawled upon cover.

 

The first time jewelry artist Rachel Carren worked with polymer clay it was not your typical artist’s introduction. She initially experimented with the versatile material when her daughter Emily used it for a project in elementary school. Carren’s daughter is now grown and recently married, and Carren has found herself in the midst of a promising career as a polymer artist, educator and advocate.

 

Nadine Kariya, who has spent her professional life in Seattle, is known for one-of-a-kind commissions and, more recently, for her regal rings. But regardless of what is being made, Kariya’s work is distinguished by its majestic mix of modernity and classicism, executed with the polish and precision of a master technician.

 

It is the exploration of the mystery, the experimentation, the untaken paths taken that have informed Pennsylvanian fiber artist K. Riley’s artistic evolution. With that came a very sound
structure, as from the beginning Riley had a natural affinity with textiles.

 

Encrusted with irregular, variously colored stones and lustrous bits of shell, the neckpieces of Wisconsin artists Skye and Peter Ciesla are reminiscent of the dripping mosaics of Renaissance grottos or the natural sea caves, illuminated by isolated sunbeams scattered on lapping water, from which those artificial sixteenth-century caverns drew their inspiration.

 

Master handcarver Stephen Myhre gives pragmatic advice for aspiring carvers. "In 1974 I first started carving wood as a balance to the study of social science at university; gradually handwork became more important than scholarship so I followed my instincts of becoming a
carver. I am primarily known as a bone carver through my book, Bone Carving, a Skillbase of Techniques and Concepts, but over the years I have moved over to carving stone. My primary passion is jade, but I also enjoy working with various hardstones.

 

Guzang, which is a Chinese word for the Miao festival, can be translated to mean “Water Buffalo Offal Fertility” Festival. The Miao, with a 2000 census population of 7.9 million, are the fifth largest of the fifty-six official minorities or nationalities recognized by the Chinese government. The majority of the Miao live in Guizhou, with the southeastern part as their heartland.