Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Rose is A Rose is a.....lathe!

It's been over two months since I was in Joseph, Oregon, but the memory of Stewart Jones and his Rose Engine linger.

The Fishtrap Writers' Workshop was held at the South end of Lake Wallowa and the only way there is through Joseph.

Even "passing through" you can't help but notice the sculpture. So it's no surprise to learn that Joseph's raison d'etre is closely tied to the myriad foundries. Another reason is the breath-taking scenery.

Between conference presentations and hiking I found myself skulking the galleries. Unfortunately, nearly all the work is representational. The craftsmanship is admirable, but the "art" was uninspiring. Glenna Goodacre would have thrilled. But when I stumbled into Stewart Jones Designs I knew I'd found it.

Also known as the Indigo Gallery, it's on the corner at the North end of the block a block downhill from The Valley Bronze Gallery.

Robin Woodsmith's beadwork first caught my eye. Her fantastical constructs of flashing color are beyond description and their prices inclined me to buy the lot!! For those who wear bracelets, amulets and earrings they are an extraordinary find!

Interestingly, Mr. Jones' displays his work in the cases further back. I'd never seen anything like his Rose Engine creations and was soon to find out why.

Mr. Jones is one of a select few in the world who owns a Swiss-made Rose Engine lathe. The device originated among the aristocracy of the 1670s as a hobby tool that enabled royalty to create one-of-a-kind gifts for friends, relatives and visiting dignitaries. Its fame was further established through its use to embellish Faberge eggs. Mr. Jones purchased his, made in the late 1800s, several years ago and uses it to produce exotic patterns on silver, platinum and gold.

And the gemstones Mr. Jones uses in his pieces will dazzle. The elegance of all attest to his sophisticated aesthetic. These are mixed-media fine art. Reasonable prices complete an experience (unlike Clines Corners) worth waiting for.

Below is a video about the Indigo Gallery, Mr. Jones and his lathe.

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