A Riff on Beads

David Forlano, Three Beads, 1995After returning from a trip to Japan in 1994, I felt inspired by much of the textile design I had seen there.

Steve (Ford) and I were looking for new cane ideas as well as new jewelry forms to work with. After looking closely at much of the ikat patterns we found in books and Japanese textile samples, we started replicating some as well as improvising on organic patterns.

The terms “organic” and “improvising” became underlying themes in our shift toward more loose and open designs and forms.  After reaching a saturation point in developing canes with hard clean lines and bright colors, exploring hues of natural dyes and forms within nature became the next challenge for us.

We also started manipulating very thin layers of translucent clay, pushing the clay, similar to the way painters might push paint around a canvas. We experimented with ink transfers onto translucent, and building canes with translucent and solid colors. These new translucent canes could then be sliced extremely thinly and placed onto layers of color or other canes as illustrated by these beads.

All of this began our movement away from caning as the primary element of our work.  And as time passed, we realized that caning had become just one of the tools in the Ford/Forlano tool box.

In 1988, David Forlano began collaborating with Steven Ford on jewelry design under the name City Zen Cane. As early innovaors in the medium, their polymer production work from this period was characterized by bright colors and complex caned cross sectional patterns. Today, Ford and Forlano integrate polymer with precious materials primarily making one of a kind pieces under their own names. In May, 2005, David moved west to live in Santa Fe, NM. He has a studio there, and continues to collaborate with Ford, sending work back and forth across the country.