Susan Cummins: What was your inspiration for this show?
Karen Lorene: Facèré Jewelry Art Gallery has, for many years, combined the worlds of art jewelry and the written word. Often, the shows that combine a publication: Signs of Life, a literary journal; ABCdarian, a children’s alphabet book; and Celebrating 70, have been invitational shows. This show, Louder Than Words, was an open invitation to all of the artists we regularly represent. The artists’ responses have been varied and visually exciting. The show was scheduled for Valentine’s Day shopping, and more importantly, for a conference of the Association of Professional Writers. The anticipated conference attendance will be 16,000 people, and they are registering directly across the street from Facèré at the Sheraton Hotel. We have invited attendees for coffee and crème puffs on a morning during the conference. A crazy invitation, and we hope 30 will show up, we expect 100, and if more than that attend, there will be a line around the block!
How did you come up with the title for the show? A search on the Internet revealed that there is a book on autism, a website, and a song, among other things, all called Louder Than Words.
Karen Lorene: A quote of Mark Twain’s was the inspiration for the title of the show. “Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly so often.”
We took only three words from the quote—Louder than Words—in the belief that jewelry speaks louder than words and is often the substitute for words. And we used the word “words” to pique the interest of all those convention goers at the APW conference.
Could you expand on your statement about the show: “Louder than Words explores contrasts and communions between the visual language of jewelry art with the literary language of the printed page.” Can you use some examples from the show to illustrate what you mean?
Karen Lorene: Davide Bigazzi created a cuff bracelet with images of open books. Judith Hoyt created a necklace of a book with words clipped directly from the dictionary: Jewelry, Speak, Louder, Than, Word. Cynthia Toops created a series of three iconic photographs. The one pictured of Tiananmen Square, mounted in the lens of a camera, is a picture that speaks louder than words in every way.
Karen Lorene: I love the idea of putting together a modern/antique word show. The trouble would be finding (for sale) wonderful Victorian jewelry such as regard rings (ruby, emerald, amethyst, ruby, diamond) or posey rings (Georgian poetry or poetic phrases), Mizpah jewelry, (“The Lord watch over thee while we are absent one from the other” from the biblical book of Ruth), or jewelry with dates and names or obituaries. These items exist, but they are very, very rare! Probably won’t happen.
I know you are a writer, and you are very interested in both antique and contemporary jewelry. However, you rarely if ever write directly about it. Why is that?
Karen Lorene: My very first book is titled Buying Antique Jewelry: Skipping the Mistakes (1987). The ABC book … I wrote all the words, 78 of them, all descriptions of jewelry, and my first novel, Dancing with Bear is about two artists—a chainsaw artist and a glass blower—so about artists, but not about jewelry artists. Oh, and Building a Business: Building a Life, my memoir, is nothing but about jewelry art (well, at least the last half!).
What are you seeing, hearing, or reading recently that you can recommend?
Karen Lorene: Metalsmith magazine, to keep apprised of the relevancy of our field. As a SNAG board member, I care deeply that the magazine is exciting, visually interesting, and inclusive. The last issue does a particularly wonderful job.
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster for a “Great Books” discussion group I’ve been a member of these past 35 years.
Theatre: Richard II; opera: Rigoletto; and at the Seattle Art Museum: Peru—Kingdom of the Sun. I think is so important we touch base with all the arts, that the arts are married to each other, and fatten our lives!