ORNAMENT Volume 35 No. 4

Bolo Ties. Contemporary Neckwear of the West
Carol Lee Shanks. Refining the Silhouette
Shana Kroiz. Sculptor of Sensuous Form
Patrik Kusek. Precious Metal Clay Maestro
Folk Art of the Andes. Tradition and Transformation


Bolo ties have held a place in popular culture through several decades. Jon Cryer wore one in the movie Pretty in Pink (1986), Tom Cruise wore a bolo tie in the final scene of Cocktail (1988) and more recently Chris Colfer wore a bolo tie on an episode of Glee. Bolo ties have been made by Native American artists since the late 1940s. For many contemporary artists, a bolo tie is a palette to express artistic individuality. Although some of the earliest bolo ties were simple shapes—isosceles trapezoids—artists began to distinguish their work from the onset.


Carol Lee Shanks’s nomad coat looks like a simple garment. It is a staple of her recent collections. And with its collarless, crossover front closure and roomy, cuffless sleeves, the coat has the silhouette of a loose-fitting kimono. The hem, just above the knee, is slightly asymmetrical thanks to fabric panels inserted into the sides of the coat. The panels are a clever way to let the coat broaden to accommodate a purposeful stride. The panels also give a slight flare to the sides of the coat, making it easy to reach underneath into pants pockets.


Shana Kroiz’s jewelry, like the Baltimore-based artist herself, can best be described as exuberant. Over the past two decades she has developed a visual vocabulary that ranges from contoured metallic forms whose sumptuous curves embody the best impulses of Art Nouveau in a very contemporary (even futuristic) way, to painterly constructions in bright enamels that bring to mind the aquatic fauna and exotic flora of some imagined tropical paradise.


Discussing the origins of his precious metal clay jewelry, Patrik Kusek explains how inspiration can strike him just about any place, although a lot of his work is nature-based. He loves the structure of natural forms—branches and pods, for instance. Indeed, in speaking about the latter, he expresses admiration for their efficient structure—their “architecture”—and tactile quality.


Since precolumbian times, indigenous Andean men had worn the tunic—a short woven garment with a slit opening for the head, sewn up the sides with small armholes. The Spanish decreed that men must wear pants, but left the tunic alone; only indigenous men wore them, and the tunic became a symbol of Indian pride. Along came the raiding Mapuche, who had opened up the sides of their tunics for greater flexibility of movement on horseback. The Spanish liked what they saw.