Glasscock Faculty Research Fellowship
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"Ornament : Design : Translation” tests the claims made on the title pages of numerous sixteenth-century ornament print series about the “usefulness” of the designs for various artisans, from the goldsmith, wood carver, and painter to the tapestry weaver, embroiderer, and button maker. The project asks three questions: 1) how readily could printed designs be adapted, scaled, and translated into various 2D and 3D media, and 2) what kind of considerations and constraints influenced the design of these prints, and 3) how did cultural attitudes toward ornament affect the practical use and afterlife of these prints. To address these questions, I bring together sixteenth- and seventeenth-century art and material culture, documentary evidence from artists’ contracts and commissions, and laboratory reconstructions of period-specific artisanal recipes and techniques for ornamental work. Hands-on engagement with historical making practices offers a means of accessing historically specific epistemic categories and helps to assess the embodied skills, professional considerations, and material constraints required to translate ornament patterns across media—as well as to design ornament for this purpose.