The action of traveling in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it. Initially, it was all about study and hard work and understanding the what and how of making. As these pulled into focus the importance of the why, and, the meaning of the work began to shape values as core to the work. Currently, meaning is sought not only in the outcome but in the process.
The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation. My studio life respects those that came before. Sometime obvious, more often subtle, the work honors historic techniques, materials, and artists through a contemporary lens. The work exists to pass on my interpretations. I think about the work outlasting me. 2020 marked 50 years of studio life. Music taught her daily practice. Art provided freedom of thought. Time showed her a personal path. And she showed herself how to trust the practice, freedom and path.
An intense desire or enthusiasm for something. Passion is the driver that promotes learning. Passion means that when it gets hard you have the stick to it-ness to keep going. It is in the small things and it leads to the big things.
A way of carrying out a particular task. In trying to define this for students I often talk about the selection of your answer to “the how?”. How are you going to get the paint to the canvas? How are you going to make that particular shape in seed beads? Educate yourself in the ways/the techniques to do this.
A plan. An arrangement. Sam began her design understanding at the family run business: The Park Florist in Plainfield, N.J. At the time, she had no idea that this was the start of a lifelong adventure in art and design. Design helps us rid insanity from our thinking and have intention, purpose, order. Design is the careful and intentional arrangement of a space.
The action of explaining the meaning of something. My focus on this word has to do with meaning, and meaning being conveyed through the visual medium. Making art and design is not only about how we do it but also about why and what the work is about.
Karen "Sam" Norgard.
Karen-Sam Norgard, “Sam” to her friends and family, finds inspiration for her one-of-a-kind jewelry from a number of different sources. Guided by top design principles, her love of floral themes and her eye for unusual combinations of color, texture and form, Sam’s intricate beadwork brings together her considerable design skills.
Handmade Beaded Art
Combining African, Native American, French and Victorian techniques Sam weaves a rich mix of beads and findings collected from a world-wide search. The dynamic process of linking old techniques with new interpretations reveals an idea. The idea manifests as she selects each bead and adds it to the form. Sometimes, if a piece really “speaks” to her, she will create a series based on the same theme to fully explore the nuances of the design until it has run its course. “By wearing my jewelry my clients provide the most intimate of displays for my designs.”
Art That Mirrors the Cycle of Life
Sam’s artistic pursuits extend well beyond her jewelry designs. She also creates perishable constructions, installations, and, recently is launching global projects. The perishable constructions utilize a variety of materials from live plants to beach stones and shells. After assembling these constructions she photographs them, and, allows the materials to return to a natural state. Plants wilt and waves scatter the pieces. “It is much like our human existence,” she observes. “Each of my creations is unique – much like each one of us is unique in the cycle of life.”
Learning at Norgard Designs
Norgard designs is dedicated to preserving the tradition of handmade beaded art. Sam conveys her passion to workshop participants and her students at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, GA, where she and her husband, David Golden (a painter), live. Through free lessons and lectures on this site, and also through the in-person and virtual workshops that Sam and the Global Projects provide, it is our hopes that the tradition of handmade beaded art continues to thrive.
2D Pattern and color
Acrylic paint on paper 30” x 40”
The Carrot and the Drink
Acrylic paint on paper 34” x 50”
The Glendive Shooting Gallery
Acrylic paint on wood. Approximately 12’ x 5’ x 10’
This Oar That Or
Canvas is 6’ x 6’. Permanent collection of the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Home Sweet Home
Installation at the Art Academy, Philadelphia, PA
My Mobile Home
Installation at Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.
Lucille, the Dessert Waitress
Character from “All Girl Network” a Performance by Sam Norgard and Jessie Jane Lewis at the Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA.
The Dangling Metaphor
Installation from “All Girl Network” a Performance by Sam Norgard and Jessie Jane Lewis at The Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA
Trying on Shoes
Non-Audience Performance Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, PA.
Performance by Dan Loewenstein
Yellow Springs Laboratory, Yellow Springs, PA.
Performance by Dan Loewenstein
The Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA.
6 welded women (welding by America Jones Tickle). Henry Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA.
Stick Dress Maquette
2’ x 1’ x 1’
The Garden for the Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA.
Deb’s Beach Dress
Perishable Construction. Approximately 2’ height. White Cove, Nova Scotia.
Bread Dress. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Fan of Frida’s
Beaded Construction. Created with the Twisted Fringe. Approximately 15” x 8” x 2”. Collection of Pres. Paula Wallace, Savannah College of Art and Design.
Liza and the Code of Art
Installation. Lacoste, France.
SCAD - Atlanta Installation
30 wall mounted forms comprised of folded paper forms made from announcements of artist events at SCAD. 30 ft long in Commissioned in celebration of SCAD’s 30th anniversary.
Butterflies In My Skirt: How’d They Get there?
Skirt Created with members of the Coastal Bead Society and the Hilton Head Bead Society. Butterflies Created with the Batey Girls. 4’ x 2’ x 10”
My Beach Dress
Collaboration with Stephen Ramsey
Looking at You
Global Project - Black & White Together
The Black & White Together Project will incorporate over 3000 components from Makers around the world.
Global Project - All Colors
It is with great happiness that I move forward on the assembly of theAll ColorsProject. We continue to fine tune the process and organically grow. We are thrilled to continue finding more and more volunteers to join in the process. It grows as the community makers grow!
Global Project - Triangle Love
Sam came to understand that she had teaching to trade. Instead of asking for money for learning she trades education for joining in the making of components for a large global work.
- 1970 - 1980
- 1980 - 1990
- 1990 - 2000
- 2000 - 2010
- 2010 - 2020
- 2020 - Present
Keith Bupp, Friend
Sam has been a part of my life for nearly 50 years. She is a remarkable artist and quite remarkable as a friend. The kind of friend that anyone would be lucky to have. The first piece of her art that I really paid attention to was a sculpture called The Shooting Gallery. Not being an artist or having any education in art I could not have said why I liked the piece so much. I just knew that it made me smile. For a period in the early 80’s I was blessed to work with her in New York City in a small clothing business called Edna Queen of Mars. She and my partner worked as a great team designing the clothing that I helped to produce. And we did many pieces that delighted the fashion coordinator at Bloomingdales. I know Sam to be a very dedicated instructor. Her teaching strives to give her students an education in art. But also in life. I’m sure her students become better at making art and at living life under her guidance. Of her jewelry I have nothing to say but Wow! I have many pieces and I occasionally wear the pieces that I feel I can carry off as a fairly liberated man. So I am able to say that not only are they beautiful. They are well made so that one can wear them without fear of someone touching them in admiration.
Rosa Kennedy, Friend
Sam’s artwork, the beaded forms, represent history, community and cultural exchange. I met her in Nova Scotia about 20 years ago and our first conversation was about a dream to develop an art program for our summer community. We began by connecting with the local French speaking University, the University of St. Ann, mixing art teachers from both the U.S. and Canada. Next step she bought an original one-room schoolhouse and had it moved to the back of her family property where summer workshops are taught currently. The cultural exchange has broadened. To arrive at the vintage 100-year-old schoolhouse is to be immersed in French Acadian culture. Bay St. Marie, part of the Bay of Fundy, astounds one with its’ beauty: intense blue skies, tidal rise and fall of 26’ twice a day, fabulous sunsets mirrored in the ocean landscape. Sam shares the cuisine, the music, lobster and scallop history with her students as part of her teaching.
To purchase a piece of her art means supporting in worldwide art collaboration and cultural exchange. Over the years I acquired three of her jewelry pieces. The first was a beaded brooch representing a piece of clay sculpture. Her beaded work was flat in form, a monochrome of earth colors, and, pattern may have been its’ strong point. Next, was a bracelet, again a flat form, wild in color, reminiscent of abstract expressionist art. There were momentos included, one being an oval bead cabochon. When I looked inside the Mona Lisa was staring back – smile and all. What a surprise! The last jewelry acquired was sculpture for the ears created in black and gold. They are 3-D wings ready to fly from a rhinestone chain. They are reminiscent of Calder’s early mobiles but these are feminine and playful statements. They are exquisite!