Spring/Summer 2015 Issue


Editorial by John Fleming

ORNAMENTUM celebrates 10 years of publication in 2015 as it continues to record our delight in the pursuit and pleasure of discovering and promoting interest in the decorative arts in Canada. This retrospective adventure maintains our ongoing off-angle approach to the many aspects of the decorative arts and the images they create of our historical …

A Prairie Beacon: Gasoline Alley’s Rare Pump

Article by Sylvia J. Harnden

ASOLINE ALLEY MUSEUM, in Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village, is home to thousands of artifacts relating to the retail of petroleum products during the first half of the 20th century. Every vehicle, gas pump, globe, sign, and item of ephemera has its own special tale to tell, but literally standing above the rest …

Bauhaus-inspired, Canadian-made: A Remarkable Desk

Article by Rosalind Pepall

HE DESK HAD A TUBULAR STEEL FRAME upon which was posed a rectangular sheet of thick clear glass. On one side were two small glass shelves on tubular steel supports. Simplicity itself. Made in Canada in 1932, it was modelled after the furniture designs of the great Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, who had been …

Tokens of Love: The Intricate and Intimate Art of Sailors’ Valentines

Article by Judy Dinnick

HE TRADITION of sailors’ valentines began in 19th-century Barbados, during the times of the magnificent sailing ships. Barbados was an important port of call for English and American trading ships, and sailors would purchase gifts to take back to loved ones in England and North America. Islanders began creating charming shell mosaics in octagonal …

Maple Modern: Next Generation Canadiana

Article by Peter Fleming

 REFRESHING NEW GENERATION of Canadian designer/makers has found equal inspiration in global design movements and locally sourced materials. This exciting collision blurs the boundaries between design and craft, revitalizes both fields, and creates new potential worlds of objects and activities. Access to digital manufacturing tools such as the CNC router, combined with a new …

Last Spike Pin: An Eccentric Jewel Illustrating Canada’s Railway History

Article by Alexander Reford

HE PHOTOGRAPH of the last spike ceremony completing the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 is one of Canada’s most iconic images. A small group of hatted company men, railway workers, and a small boy is gathered around Donald Smith, who is holding a spike maul on a wet November morning in Eagle Pass, British …