For 43 years, Ornament Magazine has been documenting personal adornment through the world’s highest levels of wearable fine craft and art media. The magazine itself has a physical beauty that has never been compromised: thick paper, glossy finish, stunning photography, and deeply-researched articles.
I first encountered Ornament in January 1979 in the skimpy magazine section of my local jewelry supply store in northern New Mexico. Having farted around with bead stringing, weaving, and embroidery, I was starting out in ‘hot’ jewelry-making (due to the Christmas gift of a tiny butane Microflame torch like this, some flux, a soldering block, and some copper wire. Thanks, Dad.)
In the late 70s, the Four Corners region of the American Southwest was a nexus for serious jewelry design.
The local Native American tribes had ancient, vibrant stonecarving and fiber traditions married to relatively-new silversmithing exposure. In the early 20th century, Fred Harvey and other Anglo entrepreneurs helped make ‘Indian’ jewelry and fashion popular with the outside world, opening up a vital industry for Native crafters. Arizona Highways Magazine often showcased Native jewelry designers. In Albuquerque, Saul Bell had made Rio Grande into ‘the’ jewelry-making supplier of the region, as well as a powerhouse of artistic and technical networking. From the Latino population came another lush, riotous tradition of decorative and wearable art.
It was a good time to be a young artist inspired by all of these intermixing elements. In the fall of 1979 I started learning from an actual, serious jeweler (who quickly trained me out of most of my self-taught jewelry bad habits.) Ornament and Lapidary Journal were mainstays in his library. From him, I first heard about the Tucson Rock & Gem Show and Fire Mountain Gems.
These days I return to Ornament for regular, and often wistful, recharges of my creative batteries. I may not always agree with or even like the featured artists or scholars, but I always find *something* to inspire me.