The Los Poblanos property, which includes the Inn, the Farm Shop, and the La Quinta Cultural Center, is situated amidst 25 acres of organic kitchen gardens and lavender fields. As I drove down the long, tree-lined driveway toward the Inn, light from the clear desert sky cascaded through the canopy, twinkling off a courtyard pool just visible through a bank of well-kept hedges. A peacock sauntered by. Just so everyone knows how I really feel about this place, I should say that when life gets to be a little too much, and I close my eyes to visualize my "happy place," Los Poblanos is the place I see.
This round of judging represents the final phase of a process that began many months ago, when artists from around the world submitted renderings and photographs of their work across the seven categories of the Saul Bell Design Award competition: gold/platinum, silver/Argentium® Silver, hollowware/art objects, metal clay, enamel, alternative metals/materials, and emerging artist. Back in October, our illustrious panel of first-round judges whittled the many entries down to 35 finalists, each of whom then produced the piece he or she had designed in time for this final round of judging.
All 35 pieces were displayed on pressed white tablecloths in a room filled with natural light. The judges, each wearing a pair of white cotton gloves, carefully picked up and inspected the pieces, examining the work under a loupe. They considered many criteria, and asked questions like: Does the piece hold true to the standards of the category? What fabrication method did the artist choose, and did this choice do justice to the design? Is the design fully realized and successful? How well-proportioned is the piece? Is it meticulously finished?
Once the judges had carefully examined each entry, they each took a seat and assessed the jewelry as models presented each item as it was designed to be worn. As the judges watched, they asked the models questions, such as: "Is it fun to wear?" and "Is it too heavy?" Sometimes they were surprised: one judge commented, "Wow! I like this piece much more now that I see it on a real person."
Through the hours of hands-on scrutiny and careful deliberation, each judge captured thoughts, notes, and scores electronically on individual iPads, identifying each design only by its number. The scores would later be tallied to determine the winners and runners-up in each category.
With the results safely saved and locked away, the judges, SBDA organizers, and several guests sat down to enjoy a feast specially prepared by the Inn. We savored dishes inspired by the day’s harvest while the oversized dining room fireplace roared in the background, and we discussed one gorgeous entry after another.
Come visit us next week, when The Studio will share each of the exquisite finalist pieces so you can pick your favorites, then watch for an announcement of the 2014 Saul Bell Design Award competition winners in May and see if your favorites were picked!Comment on this article
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