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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50 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 incorporate them in her jewelry. She stains some of them with paint, others she carves. She places tiny metal caps on their ends. A recent necklace features three of these twigs with capped ends (as does the pin Fago made for Dan Cormier's Broken Telephone Project—see Ornament, Vol. 36, No. 4). Occasionally, Fago will work from a rough drawing or notes in a sketchbook, but generally she will find ideas in the cartographer's drawer next to her work desk. The large drawer is full of parts in different states and she will look over these forms and pieces for ideas. "I'm doing something different all the time," she explains, "to the point where it drives me around the bend." You might say Fago's journey to her current stature as jeweler and sought- artistically inclined. A southern belle from Lexington, Kentucky, she had moved to New York City to further her painting career and, her daughter adds, "to find a man from an ethnic group guaranteed to alienate her daddy." Vince Fago fit the bill: a second-generation Italian. The couple lived in Greenwich Village until 1951 when, pregnant with Celie, D'Ann convinced her husband to leave the high-stress city with its requisite smoking and drinking for a quieter life in Rockland County, thirty miles north of Manhattan. Thanks to this move, their daughter grew up in the countryside, barefoot and happy in the woods and fields—but close enough to the city that the family made frequent trips to visit museums. By the late 1960s, what was once an after teacher began before she was born—a kind of y genetic propensity for ay. the arts was in play. In er an overview of her life t and work to faculty and students at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, she started her PowerPoint with a slide showing the cover of a vintage copy of The Human Torch, an icon in the history of comic books. Why this image of the fiery red superhero? Fago's father, Vincent, was a cartoonist and writer who served as interim editor of Timely Comics, predecessor to Marvel Comics, while Stan Lee was serving in World War II. Fago's mother, Dorothy Ann Calhoun (known as D'Ann), was also a rural getaway had r bec become a bedroom com community for the Big Apple. In 1968 the family moved furthe further north, settling t o hundre on a twohundred-acre farm in the tiny town of Bethel, Vermont. Celie's father died in 2002; her mother, who is ninety-six, continues to draw every day (she had a seventy-fiveyear retrospective at Studio Place Arts in Barre, Vermont, in 2012). "I never made a conscious choice to be an artist," Fago notes. "It was expected of me, assumed that I would go into the 'family business,' and I did." The artistic genes began to manifest themselves early on. CELIE FAGO wearing one of her pendants. BEE PENDANT of sterling silver, twenty-four karat gold (keum-boo), brass rivets, polymer clay, 5.1 centimeters diameter, 2012. URBAN RINGS of sterling silver, twenty-four karat gold (keum-boo), 1.3 centimeters high, 2012.

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