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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A master metalsmith and solderer, Ken was exploring his creativity within his new physical parameters. I remember watching him painstakingly cutting out dozens of small squares of delicate, matte silver rectangles and soldering them into an oval shape to be made into a brooch. I asked about the rectangles. Ken said, 'Those are my thoughts.' The difficulty in expressing his ideas, rather than stopping him, presented a challenge and an opportunity. He found new ways of self-expression, which is perhaps the obligation of an artist. And Dona was there, demanding that Ken decide his future and supporting him in his decision to continue as an artist. This redoubled Dona's commitment to her work. "Now Ken has been honored at the Racine Art Museum in his home state of Wisconsin, where his professional life is the subject of a retrospective. His work is strong, creative, innovative. His art and the art of Dona Look are essential contributions to American craft and American art. Art can save lives after all." In practicing one's craft, Loeber is an exemplar of the requirement that dedication and persistence must drive the process. The heart of his work is centered in his due diligence to the act of making, that is of constructing something from nothing, of following the concrete steps necessary to advance his work. He has chosen not to render his pieces with too many possibilities or different elements, so there is a kind of Shaker severity to them. It is a reductive accomplishment in the best sense of the current terminology. Nonetheless, they are beautifully complete and have a serenity that casts a spell, somehow otherworldly and esoteric in their simplicity and essential nature. Subtle, sensitive, Ken Loeber's jewelry has been so extraordinarily resonant in just these ways over the many decades he has been working. "The moment," author Henry Miller wrote, "one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." Blessed with an exacting sense of observation, with the inspiration of nature as the core for creating, it has been a lodestar for Loeber over the many decades of his professional career and has helped him personally navigate through life's troubled waters. 35 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 BROOCH of sterling silver, fourteen karat gold, coral, and shell; 5.1 x 7.3 centimeters, 1986. WHITE ROUGE PIN of eighteen karat gold and pearl; 4.4 x 1.4 centimeters, 2012. Photograph by Ralph Gabriner.

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