Ornament Magazine

VOL37.1 2014

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

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Carolyn L. E. Benesh retrospective A BROOCH of fourteen karat gold and South Sea pearl; 7 x 6.4 centimeters, 1993. Photographs of jewelry by Tom Van Eynde except where noted. Photograph of Loeber and Look by Carolyn L. E. Benesh at the Smithsonian Craft Show, 2011. 33 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 crumpled sheet of fourteen karat gold, as if it were a worthless piece of paper about to be thrown into a trash bin, is set at the bottom of its almost brutal metallic surface with one very beautiful South Sea pearlÑa survivor from its emergence from a home within the seas depths, to be cast into the lap of markets eager to use it for profit. Ungainly in some strange way, this pearl reorients the gold above it, marking a contrapuntal movement between surface and texture, between the realities of life with its coexistence of harshness and ineffable grace. KEN LOEBER AND DONA LOOK A breathtakingly elegant branch of Alaskan white coral (no human could replicate it?) has three eighteen karat gold leaf forms, so very carefully placed on the once living structure that it is almost painful to behold the attachment. The branch, a piece of natureÕs creation, outshines the three leaves, but at the same time could not really be complete without them, at least in this particular artistic exercise. Another, a swirl of repeating circles in sterling silver and eighteen karat gold seemingly move before the eye in a celebratory dance, homage to the infinite unknowedness of the universe. With a background in sculpture, Ken Loeber was trained and received both his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1970 and 1978. Over the years he became drawn more to jewelrymaking and is largely self-taught. His mother passed on her jewelry equipment and he made his first pin at sixteen. Born in 1948, in 2002, at the age of fifty-four and after building a noted professional career in the contemporary craft movement, Loeber had a severe stroke which impaired his ability to speak and as well, lost the use of his right hand and arm. He is left-handed, but nevertheless had to laboriously reeducate himself in working methods that would now depend on one hand and the strength of one arm. A recent exhibition, ÒCollection Focus: Ken Loeber,Ó which WisconsinÕs Racine Art Museum sponsors for those works of a single artist that have been donated or promised to its collection, demonstrates the efficacy of restraint as one artistÕs primary force when creating. Over thirty pieces that range over his long career and show the development of his artistry provide a compelling study in the power and beauty to be found in the virtues of harmony and balance, and what can be achieved with a few, not many, elements. Certainly, not always a requirement,

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