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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Prosser patent used a dry molding process, while Bapterosses added cow milk to make a more workable paste, presumably utilizing casein as a binder. Now beads, buttons and tiles could be easily and cheaply made by the hundreds or more at a time, without additional finishing. These products either looked like porcelain or glass, depending upon the mixture of minerals used, but all had a telltale equatorial band that is diagnostic, left by the molding process. Given the enormous profits in the bead trade, there was fierce competition, and sometimes co-operation, among the European producers, who had already edged out native makers like the Indians. The author attempts to sort out who made what, using bead sample cards, as the modified Prosser process was used by the French, the Czechs and others. She also picked through the former Bapterosses factory dumpsite, which is so large that it is easily seen on Google Earth maps. Kaspers was able to verify some of what was actually produced at Briare, by beads she found herself, as well as from other collections of discards. The thought of being able to collect in this bead goldmine must be tantalizing, as it was to me. Many of the Briare beads and ornaments would not be regarded as collectible, but Bapterosses did make many adaptations or copies of jewelry that were important to their native clients, like talhakimt. These were originally handmade of agate by Indians, then in more efficient Idar-Oberstein workshops, often of Brazilian agate and finally molded in large numbers, sizes and colors by the Prosser method. One molded lion's tooth is shown but not the equally rare examples of Arca shell imitations, which are most likely also a product of Briare. Floor Kaspers has written an informative and readable book on an important contributor to the worldwide bead trade, which was at its peak from about 1850 to 1950. While others have covered Bapterosses, she has brought together information from diverse sources, as well as from her own research. Robert K. Liu Diana Friedberg. 2013 World on a String. A Companion for Bead Lovers. Blurb: 444 pp., softbound $45.00. Diana Friedberg, originally from South Africa, is well-known as the producer, cinematographer and editor of World on a String, a five-part series of DVDs on beads worldwide. With funding from the Bead Society of Los Angeles and many other organizations/individuals, written and narrated by her husband Lionel, and coproduced by Adel Boehm-Mabe of the same society, this series spanned from 2005 to 2008. Friedberg spent a decade on the project, traveling to some forty countries for the filming, as shown by the map of the locations where she filmed. The experiences and imagery she captured must have provided the ample inspiration and material for her book of the same title. Largely pictorial, her book of over four hundred pages is a rich amalgam of still images from her travels around the world and studio photography by Joel Lipton of clothed and nude models wearing jewelry. The reproduction quality of the photographs is excellent, with the book having been printed in China, instead of an on-demand digital printing. Many of the necklaces are by California designers, including Friedberg herself. Ethnographic beads and jewelry, contemporary artist-made beads and artisanal-made beads and ornaments are used throughout her volume. She covers essentially all the materials now used for beads in the world marketplace. I especially liked her many images of bead production around the world, as well as bead markets and places where materials for beads are gathered or mined. For example, the photographs for the making of bauxite beads in Ghana are the most thorough so far published, as are those for powderglass beadmaking in the same country. These photographs not only enrich the book, but provide a very concrete lesson as to how beads are a worldwide phenomenon that connect all of us in the bead community. While there is little text, those with an understanding of tools and techniques can glean considerable information on how beads are made. No other bead book has collected all these images together, which makes a pretty heady visual feast. Diana Friedberg's book serves well as a travelogue for where contemporary beads or bead materials are produced, as well as a source of inspiration for those who are necklace designers. Undoubtedly her bead DVDs are a good complement to this book. Few of us have an opportunity to travel the world in pursuit of our passion. Robert K. Liu 67 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 the ornament bo okshelf

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