Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Past Is Present

     It was an interesting comment actually.  "So this is what you're doing now?"   I wasn't really sure what she meant.  "Now" as in "not what you were doing before", "now" as in "wow, I love where your work is going" or "now" as in "you're not doing jewelry anymore?"  A hint of disapproval, I'm not sure.  More likely a misunderstanding that an artist doesn't work in a particular medium now, an artist works in that particular medium always.  It's the message that's being shared that determines how an artist shares it.  But the medium, the skills, the talent, the respect for the process, is always there inside, at the ready, for whenever the artist chooses to bring it forward.
     At least that's my perspective, and I probably enjoy that point of view because I work in several media, sometimes individually, sometimes collectively, but always based on what I'm trying to say.  My sketch book is filled with message after message after message, each conveyed according to how I want, or perhaps need, to express it.  And sometimes, it's with materials I have no idea how to work with or of a scale I can't even fathom how to bring to life.  But they're all there, page after page, waiting to be created and developed into final form.
     Her comment did make me take pause though, and inventory.  My jewelry came out of a time when I had nothing more than a small table to work on, dictated by the amount of space available to work in.  A time when I yearned to work larger and with more color, and I knew my heart was pulling me in that direction, but I couldn't go there yet, for a variety of reasons.  And so jewelry and I became great friends as I created one-of-a-kind pieces, with an urban rustic feel, organic and precise all at the same time.  And not a minute of it was wasted, nor has any of it been left in the past.  The problem-solving, the exploration of components, textures and patinas, the level of precision I chose for my work,  the transformation that occurred from metal clay to finished piece - it's all still "now".  Still within me and ready at an inspired moment's notice to come forward and be part of any given piece of work, should the message dictate.  
     It was wonderful to intentionally review all the photographs and remember what was going on in my life at the time and how it influenced the final result.   Quite like reading a journal in my own language.  So, in keeping with the intent of this blog, I thought I'd share some of my favorite pieces.   They are after all, part of my journey, treasures and communicators in their own right.  

[Group shot.  Larger images follow.]


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What Other Artists Say - Thomas Mann

     "Sometimes," he says, "when I'm working at night, which is often the case, I'll stop whatever one-of-a-kind-piece I am working on and just start on something for a friend or family member or just for myself.  Then it's hobby time.  My hobby is making things and my job, my career, is making things!  Sometimes I'll put a model airplane together or an electronic kit.  To me, building a model plane is the same as making jewelry or designing a sculpture.  Cooking is the same as making jewelry, especially sushi.  Working on my sailboat is like making jewelry.  I love what I do.  I love making things.  It's what I'm here for."

  Thomas Mann

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Exploring Shelter - Stone Wall Under Hedge Cuff

      Stone Wall Under Hedge Cuff

                               By my choice to adorn I draw you in, 
                                                         and keep you out.

                               Merino wool roving, immersion dyed, 
                                       wet-felted, resist formed, over dyed.          
                                       Photograph by Douglas Foulke

     When I started exploring the concept of shelter, I knew part of the journey would take me to my jewelry roots.  How could it not?  Every day that we make a choice of what to wear and what accessories to include, we are essentially choosing our shelter for the day, our dressing and statement for the world we expect to encounter.  Sometimes this shelter is intended to speak to us as much as it is to those that will see us, say, when we wear our powerful bold prints on a day when our footing might be less than confident.  Or when we select our "just browsing" outfit for an afternoon of shopping that's really a need to escape and not be intruded upon.    And of course, when we're at home and no one else is around, we might seek to put on our comfort clothes, while enjoying comfort food in the comfort of our own space.
     I've often wondered if one really wants a barometer of what's happening in the economy, the best place to look might be at what clothes and accessories are selling best.   Not based on what people can afford, but based on what they need to convey.  What we convey in the shelter of our clothing surely trumps what we can afford and if we can't afford a particular item, we look for something we can that will convey the same message.  I've wondered this in the same way I've wondered...with all the gorgeous, amazing incredible colors we could wear, what is being "said" when the most popular color is black (or the new blacks of brown, gray, dark blue, etc.)?  Sure, I get it's easy and it goes with everything, but it also says something.  
     So what are you wearing today?  Are you wearing "leave me alone" or "come close"?  "I'm on top of the world" or "stuck in the valley"?  "I'm powerful, confident and talented" or "I'm ordinary with not much to offer"?  The shelter of our clothing - and our jewelry - does indeed send a message.  What's yours?