Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Smell Edition: | Issue 32 of Garland Magazine (2023 Sensorium Series)

Craft offers a lingua franca between cultures. It sits outside the developmental narrative, which is mostly about catching up with the West. There is much to learn about the value of the object in different cultures as a way of sustaining meaning across time and space. Embedded in the object is the deep time necessary to master techniques for giving expression to the language of materials. As the object travels from the workshop to the gallery and home, it nurtures the source of this creativity with the respect and honour that sustains it. Garland magazine.

I discovered the "Smell" edition of Garland magazine after reading Sigrid van Roode's September newsletter. Roode, a jewelry historian and government archeology consultant, specializes in ornament (her latest book is Silver and Frankincense, Personal Adornment and Scent in the Arab World). 

If you think academic-driven books and newsletters are boring, think again. You won't find lexical jargonese in Roode's work or in the pages of Garland, which has an authentic voice and mission that's arts, culture and craft-driven. (BTW: Roode is currently pursuing a PhD at Leiden University.)

Fans of NEZ: The Olfactory Magazine will relish the "Smell" edition of Garland, but it's not because Garland magazine is like NEZ. Garland is what NEZ could be on occasion if it wasn't shadowed by fragrance industry support and dusted in advertorial-style fingerprints. 

Fragrance is a craft. Olfactory cultural heritage inclusive of non-Western scent traditions deserves attention—especially those that have been ignored, usurped or escaped commodification. We need to look into other traditions for a more balanced perspective.

Garland magazine produces an annual compendium. Each compendium is named after a flower found in a garland. The 2023 "Rose" compendium will be available next year and include 2023's taste, smell, hearing and touch issues. Quarterly subscription information is available here.