ORNAMENT Volume 36 No. 2

Kiffa Beads of Mauritania. A Fall From Grace
Making An Impression. Paris Fashion Exhibition Arrives in the U.S.
Gustav Reyes. The Irrepressible Spirit
The Windgate Fellowship. Crafting Excellence
Merry Renk. A Jewel in the Crown of Life
Clasps. The Vital Link
Jewelry Arts. Adornments & Delights
Fiber Arts. My Mother's Formal Qipao
Questions/Answers. Nancy Worden
Glass Arts. Joel Bloomberg
Bead Bazaar. The Bead Society of Los Angeles Bazaar


“They went to the Sudan with salt, pine wood, copper jewelry and glassbeads, called nazm, that they exchange against gold.” This quote sheds light on Muraqad (the Colorful, in Hassaniya) or Kiffas, the Mauritanian powderglass beads, that this article (and a book in progress) discusses. A thousand years ago glass beads were part of the merchandise sent trans-Sahara from Sigilmassa, Morocco, to the Gana empire, stapled first in Audaghost.


In 1896, the magazine L’Artiste noted that there were only two ways a woman could become a Parisienne: by birth or by dress. Now there is a third: by visiting the blockbuster exhibition “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (February 26–May 27, 2012) or the Art Institute of Chicago (June 26–September 22, 2012).


With the resoluteness of a true believer, Gustav Reyes’s faith in the world resides in the creative experience. A self-taught artist and an entrepreneur, Reyes expresses through words and deeds what is needed to succeed in work and life; and like the trees which provide the raw material for his enchanting jewelry, Reyes’s own life is filled with the rich complexity of branches and roots emanating from a single strong trunk.


While answering the question, “What’s next?,” may raise feelings of uncertainty and anxiety in many college seniors, the replies offered by Windgate Fellows are full of excitement, self-discovery, adventures, travel, and often some clear-headed practicality. Since 2006 The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design annually has awarded ten graduating college seniors grants of fifteen thousand dollars to support, recognize and encourage craft practice. Known as the Windgate Fellowship, this award quickly has become one of the most prestigious given to young craftspeople.


The American studio jewelry movement lost one of its pioneers and visionaries with the passing of Merry Renk on June 17, 2012 at the age of ninety. Renk, who was also a talented painter and sculptor, was a professional goldsmith for more than thirty years. But, of course Renk’s life and body of work cannot be defined merely by an account of her awards and honors, as her life was rich and full of vignettes, wonder and intrigue.