ORNAMENT Volume 36 No. 1

Maggie Meister. Antiquity Amore
To Die For. Rapiers as Ornamentation in the Renaissance Era
Arline Fisch. Distinguished Artist
David LaPlantz. Jeweler Provocateur
Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show 2012
Islamic Glass Beads. The Well-Traveled Ornament
Fiber Arts. Patchwork Community
Wearable Arts. Ballgowns
Metal Arts. Saul Bell Design Award 2012
Jewelry Arts. Ashley Buchanan


Naples became Maggie Meister’s first muse and the historic city remains the aesthetic touchstone for her extraordinary beadworked jewelry. When she arrived in Naples, Meister was a skilled beader who made jewelry for herself and friends. But inspired by the Roman artwork and frescoes she found in southern Italy, Meister was soon creating earrings, bracelets and neckpieces that looked as though they had been made for a Roman empress.


You could tell a lot about a Renaissance man from his rapier, the weapon at the center of the Wallace Collection’s recent exhibition “The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe” in London. With its narrow, lightweight blade, the rapier was designed for civilian conflicts rather than military skirmishes. Indeed, it was useless on the battlefield, too long for close combat and too flimsy to penetrate armor. In a duel of honor, however, its elegant proportions and exquisite ornamentation belied its lethal thrusting power.


In a career that has spanned over fifty years, artist Arline Fisch has explored the themes of social narrative, history and memory in her works. Through the skills of handcrafting she has fashioned these themes into imaginative new forms of jewelry and decorative objects. Her inventive ideas have found starting points in unusual materials and methods: Fisch pioneered the use of textile techniques in metal when she began to knit and crochet silver, gold, platinum, and copper wire into structural, volumetric jewelry pieces.


David LaPlantz likes to strike up a dialogue, mostly in your head. A little mischievous, a lot instigator, he asks questions, about dreams, or curiosity, or nature. He dwells on love, too; red bright hearts are a favorite motif in his jewelry brooches. He takes aim at complacency, defying the status quo with words like “bailout” etched on recent pieces. In person one morning in his large studio south of Santa Fe, he moves around with an elastic quickness, and his conversation easily leaps and fishtails as he focuses on a train of thought or describes a process.


Now in its thirty-sixth year, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show has been a long-standing member of the craft show circuit. Created due to the efforts of the Women’s Committee to benefit the Philadelphia Museum of Art with funds raised by sponsorship of the show, and coordinated by veteran show manager Nancy O’Meara, the Craft Show is a lively pageant for four days a year. Continuing to evolve through the years, the show always introduces new elements that expand its diversity.