Creative Mojo, Forward…March! March 7, 2012


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

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Decorative Arts Curator, Author, Bon Vivant  


About ULYSSES. . .

Ulysses Grant Dietz has been the curator of Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum since 1980. He received his BA in French from Yale in 1977, and his MA in Early American Culture from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in 1980.

The curator of over 80 exhibitions during his tenure, Mr. Dietz is particularly proud of his work on The Newark Museum’s 1885 Ballantine House, which was re-interpreted and restored as the centerpiece of the decorative arts department in 1994. In 1997 Mr. Dietz was the project director for The Glitter & The Gold: Fashioning America’s Jewelry, the first-ever exhibition and book on Newark’s once-vast jewelry industry. Mr. Dietz was also the co-curator of Gems From the East and West, The Doris Duke Jewelry Collection in 2003. In 2005, for his 25th anniversary as a curator, he organized the exhibition Style, Status, Sterling: The Triumph of Silver in America. More recently, he mounted Objects of Desire: 500 years of jewelry at The Newark Museum, drawn from the Museum’s own collection. Mr. Dietz has published numerous articles on decorative arts, as well as books on the Museum’s Studio Pottery, Art Pottery and nineteenth-century furniture collections.

About his work and his pride in Newark’s tradition in the jewelry arts, Ulysses says: “My training as a decorative arts curator began in 1978 with a graduate program through the University of Delaware. I was a graduate fellow at the Winterthur Museum outside of Wilmington, starting at the Newark Museum in 1980 with a special interest in the nineteenth century and then expanding since then to the present day. I’ve been particularly interested in jewelry more recently, especially as it connects to the decorative arts…. A lot of people might still be unaware that Newark was the center of solid-gold jewelry manufacturing from the 1850s to the 1950s. For decades, there wasn’t a jewelry store in America that didn’t carry Newark’s goods. As long as there was this kind of industry in America, Newark was its capital, producing 90 per cent of the gold jewelry in this country at its peak. For instance, there was Krementz and Company, the last survivors. They didn’t sell under their own name, but manufactured for Cartier and Tiffany in their Newark factory. It was a kind of industry practice to remain anonymous in favor of the retailers… [About the Lore Ross Jewelry Gallery:] Mrs. Ross left the museum a large bequest and we named a permanent jewelry gallery in her honor. In the gallery we have jewelry from the 1600s to the present day. Even without extensive publicity, people in the jewelry world have come to see the collection and learn about it. In the museum, we’ve created a context for Newark’s jewelry, but have long had a focus in acquiring European and American work as well. For instance, we bought two pieces of George Jensen jewelry back in 1929… We think of our local community as all of the 2.5 million people in northern New Jersey. And yes, we think that jewelry is of interest to everybody and that the interest is endless… For me, wearability is crucial; I can’t buy a piece of jewelry that can’t be worn. To us, contemporary art jewelry fits in as a component of our larger vision about what constitutes the decorative arts. The way my department collects is to document interaction between design and production in daily life. This is a museum of objects that interact with the way people live. And I believe that when people visit the Newark Museum they come to see jewelry that informs, that sheds light on history.”

Feast your eyes on some of the diverse, decorative objets d’art from the Newark Museum’s collection, curated by Ulysses: 

Ulysses recently curated a fabulous quilt exhibit, Patchwork from Folk Art to Fine Art. Luke Haynes, the quilt artist who made “American Gothic” (first photo, on left) will be joining us on today’s Creative Mojo!

Among the books authored by Ulysses are these works:

CLICK HERE for the Newark Museum’s website!

CLICK HERE to read the Newark Museum’s blog…with numerous entries penned by Ulysses!

The Newark Museum’s on FACEBOOK and TWITTER, too!



Furniture Designer, Steel Artist, and Craftsman


About JIM . . .

In his own words: “Furniture and the history of design have inspired me to delve into an investigation of its specific components. Over the past nineteen years my investigations have led me on a journey of discovery that has included Shaker design, Asian design, issues in contemporary art and currently American quilt making, all of which have manifested themselves through my furniture making process.

Primarily working with steel found in scrap yards across the Midwest I have employed furniture-making techniques to create Shaker-influenced pieces, Asian inspired designs and I am currently developing a series of quilt cupboards guided by the Quilts of Gees Bend combined with select styles of early American furniture. Much of my work is the outcome of my investigations into the sculptural language of this craft and how to cross the boundaries between fine art and craft, while being respectful to both.

I am particularly comfortable working between the influences of multiple cultures. Born in Indiana, raised in Europe, and now a 15 year resident of Door County, I have been exposed to art and design from diverse cultures from an early age. I have been actively working as a full time studio artist and exhibiting my work in galleries since graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989. I consider myself a craft artist, working primarily in metals.

In 1994, after an inspirational visit to the Shaker Museums of Mount Lebanon and Old Chatham in New York and Hancock in Massachusetts, I began studying Shaker history, the process and techniques of handmade furniture and its utilitarian, spiritual and artistic place in Shaker life.

Each piece in my Shaker-inspired body of furniture is handmade of found steel with natural rust patinas. My end-process of brushing and waxing the finish of each completed piece playfully alludes to the beautifully aged woods that are so identified with Shaker originals. The historical references to the Shaker legacy of furniture making are communicated through proportion, clean lines and functionality. To date, I have completed over two hundred and fifty pieces, with many in small limited editions. These include benches, chairs, clocks, counters, case pieces of varying scale and small oval boxes. An interesting and unique facet of my work is my process of fabricating many pieces in miniature as a step toward developing a full size piece.

In 2003 after viewing an exhibit at The Milwaukee Art Museum of the quilts of Gees Bend I was inspired to add new components to my furniture making process to create a series of quilt cupboards. Deeply influenced by traditional quilting and its utilitarian and parsimonious use of fabric remnants, these pieces translate folk traditions and a graphic legacy into the satisfyingly sympathetic and contemporary medium of steel. The piecing of found painted, scratched and marred scrap metals inspired designs of blocks and grids to create pieces of furniture whose designs blithely compliment their purpose. Using materials that are discards from the industrial process juxtapose the handmade originals that I am referencing while affording me the opportunity to experiment with patterns and color combinations.

My work is undertaken in a way that is both celebratory and respectful, while treading continuously down the path of discovery. My manner of steel construction has references to wood and wood building methods while addressing issues of traditional and modern craftsmanship. In the challenge of designing and fabricating each new piece from found materials, I encounter a variety of obstacles that contribute to my aspirations to grow as an artist and metalworker. In all, I strive to retain the balance of the visually complex with the simple qualities of pure form and clean lines while referencing and continually being inspired by the history of design and craft. All of my final works, or footprints on this journey are intended for daily use.”

Jim Rose currently exhibits at the Ann Nathan Gallery in Chicago and at Edgewood Orchard Galleries in Fish Creek. His work is found in many private and public collections across the Untied States including: The Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, The Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin and The Museum of Arts and Design, New York.

Jim’s furniture is brilliant and inspiring…

CLICK HERE for Jim’s website!

CLICK HERE to read a terrific article on Jim’s career from American Craft magazine!

CLICK HERE to see Jim’s work at the Ann Nathan Gallery!

CLICK HERE for Jim’s work at the Tory Folliard Gallery!

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Quilt Designer, Artist, Clothing Re-Purposer 


About LUKE…

Luke says, “As a contemporary quilt maker, I am exploring ways of using fabric as a medium for both functional quilts as well as wall hangings. For the viewer, enchantment lies within the perceived craftsmanship and creativity of the quilter and their work. Quilts that are constructed for warmth from overused cloth can be transformed into intriguing art objects. The resulting dialogue between quilting as a pastime of assembling found or purchased fabrics, and quilting as a skill of constructing usable objects from unusable cloth reflects a current societal tension. I ask the viewer to reexamine the quilt tradition and the nature of cloth in my work. In seeing my work, the viewer takes away a new understanding of craft and function, as well as art and materiality. My aspiration is to take quilting to the masses of literate artisans that may yet not know the ripe qualities of the medium.”

Luke’s quilts are stunning, deeply individual, and unforgettable!

CLICK HERE for Luke’s website!

CLICK HERE for Luke’s blog…following his career and spotlighting his works!

CLICK HERE for Luke’s shop on Etsy, Entropies!


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Author, Cook, Excellent Son-in-Law


About SIMON…

(and his mum-in-law, Rose, pictured with him!)

Simon Daley is a freelance art director and designer. During his career he has worked in-house for several UK publishers, and was art director of the Sunday supplement of Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper, The South China Morning Post. Food is an area of special interest, both professionally and personally, and he wrote, art directed, styled and designed Cooking With My Indian Mother-in-law, which won an award for its design and was shortlisted for the Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Book of the Year award in 2009. 

With his wife Salima, Simon runs Giraffe Books, providing art and editorial services to the publishing industry. Later this year they will be launching a food blog!

A self-taught home cook and curry addict, Simon fell in love with his Indian mother-in-law’s cooking the first time they met 11 years ago. Together, they have now produced a book revealing her culinary secrets and irresistible dishes. Cooking With My Indian Mother-In-Law includes traditional dishes inspired by his in-laws’ Gujarati roots in India, influences from Islam and Africa and modern adaptations, so the dishes are suitable for today’s cooks.

Simon, a 36-year-old art director, is lyrical about that initial meeting with Roshan (whom he calls Rose) Hirani after being taken to her house by his then girlfriend and now wife, Salima, 38. “I’ll never forget my first visit to Rose’s house. She welcomed me into her home in the way she knew best – by offering good food. The moment I tasted her divine chicken curry I was in awe. Like any Brit, I knew and loved Indian food, but the food I tasted on that day was something beyond what I had come to expect. The flavours were cleaner, brighter, and yet, despite its depth and savour, the food was somehow lighter than I had experienced before.”

Over the years, he and Rose, 63, slaved over a hot stove together, and Simon faithfully recorded the exact ingredients and methods. The book is a real family affair – Salima, an editor, took all the photographs while the other two worked away in the couple’s east London kitchen. “We got the idea for the book because traditionally these recipes have been passed from mothers to daughters over centuries,” Simon explains. “Nowadays modern Asian women are encouraged to have careers by their parents. It means that they have less time to spend learning the tried and tested techniques and methods handed down over generations. That’s exactly the case with Salima, who loves her mum’s cooking, but is so busy with her job and looking after our three-year-old son that she prefers to eat Indian food rather than make it!” By collaborating on the book he, Rose and Salima hope that they have in some small part averted the danger of many Indian home cooking recipes being lost forever.

Rose, the eldest daughter of a large Indian family, cooked most of the meals from the age of 11. “She’s an instinctive cook who doesn’t measure anything or work from recipes,” Simon says. “It’s all in her head. She adapts and improves her food all the time and now tries to make her everyday recipes as healthy as possible, for example not using ghee (Indian butter) and switching to oils.” Simon has distilled her methods and knowledge and explains that the pair have done their best to make even the most elaborate dishes easy to prepare at home without needing special equipment. “We’ve included many simple, everyday dishes which people hanker after as well as some of the more elaborate, special occasion foods.”

Soon Rose is moving from her own home in Wembley, London, to go and live with her daughter and son-in-law. It will be even easier for her to cook for the family and make what Simon calls her legendary chapatis (“light and fluffy as breeze-blown pillowcases”) and of course those divine curries. Their book features more than 100 recipes from classic dishes such as Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Biriani, and Samosas to unusual regional specialities such as Stuffed Chillies and Savoury Vegetable Cake. There are also recipes for chutneys, pickles and relishes, snacks, savouries, drinks and sweets.

CLICK HERE to buy a copy of this book full of yummies (or better yet, order it from your local indie bookshop!)


And, when your Mojo listening’s done…

Get your small-quilt thinking caps on (look, mine is fur-lined!!) and make a resolution with me to enter the NEW Alliance for American Quilts contest (the prizes are amazing – and your small quilt isn’t due until JUNE!!!)

The 2012 theme is “Home Is Where the Quilt Is,” celebrating the form and the meaning of Home. All techniques and materials are encouraged. Entries must be 3 layers–top, filling and backing and must conform to our contest guidelines–click here to download the “Home” entry form (3 pages).

THE CONTEST IS OPEN TO QUILTERS FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE (yes, you too, Australia, Canada, Italy, France, England, Ireland, Poland — anywhere and everywhere there are quilters!)

CLICK HERE to read more about this awesome opportunity to let your craftwork shine! DO IT DO IT DO IT WITH ME, cupcake!!! And thanks! xoxom


If you’ve never used Auriful Thread. . .

. . .  then you haven’t really sewn!

Why not start off with my BASICS ?

Go to my web site to order YOUR collection — CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED.

Many thanks to Nessa Reifsnyder of Fabricate, for assistance with Mark Lipinski’s Blog!

Listen to a re-broadcast of all of my shows by CLICKING HERE.

You can also subscribe to Creative Mojo at!

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One Comment on “Creative Mojo, Forward…March! March 7, 2012”

  1. March 7, 2012 at 2:28 PM #

    Great show today, Mark! 🙂

    Weighing in on the cut-up quilt topic:
    Personally, I could never bring myself to cut up a quilt and reuse it because I would feel like I was destroying someone else’s artwork, but if you do repurpose an item then you should give the maker of that item credit for their work.

    To use a less controversial example: A while back, you had on your Facebook fan page a table runner made of vintage doilies sewn together. It would be honest and ethical to say that you made the runner by sewing together doilies made by someone else, but it would be dishonest to simply say “I made this” and let everyone think that you crocheted the doilies. And if you know who made the doilies, you should give them credit for their hard work.

    If you repurpose someone else’s art and create a new artwork then the new artwork is yours, but if you don’t say that you’ve repurposed the original item then you’re claiming someone else’s work as your own. This is especially important in needlework where it may not be readily apparent that someone else made part of the item.


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