Old Experiments, New Thoughts


This little piece has me so excited!  In my last post I wrote about looking for a community of makers and craftspeople.  While visiting Contemporary Craft for Mindful, I expressed this want to a few people who were able to point me in the direction of metalsmiths who teach or make at SCC's studio.  I was happy to accept an invitation to attend a meeting of the very newly formed Allegheny Metals Club.  The particular meeting I was able to attend was a pinswap; how could I resist?!  A swap like this is a great way to meet people in my field, introduce myself and the work I make, and is the best way for me to make something (relatively) quickly.  Another jump-start project was in order!  I had some ideas swirling around in my brain that I hadn't yet gotten out on paper, let alone in metal.


Those ideas started forming a few months ago when I was given a small gold ring to use for scrap because of a broken prong and missing stone.  There was something about the empty oval setting and the three remaining prongs that I found very intriguing.  I began to think about empty spaces within a jewelry context, their ambiguity, and their potential.  Is there a part missing, or is that space a placeholder?  Could the space eventually be filled, and for how long will it remain empty?  When paired with another element, I imagine these questions as a conversation, and I especially think of the question, "Is this seat taken?"

What could I pair with an empty seat to evoke the questions I had in my mind?  When I started looking through potential objects, I came across some experimental enameled tiles I made a few years ago.  Although the experiments, silver knots embedded in opaque enamel, never evolved past their sample-like nature, I never completely forgot them.  When I considered the questions I was asking, the enameled knot samples mirrored by an empty setting fit the bill.

The things that have me so excited are a handful of never-would-haves.  I never would have come to this composition when I first made the enamels, which in itself feels like an accomplishment that has been a long time coming.  There's a feeling I wanted expressed, but it needed a few years to be realized a bit more accurately.  I am satisfied with this in part because I never would have used that setting for anything, and the decision to do that comes from thoughts and questions spurred by the little gold ring.  Finally, I never would have parted so easily with something I felt so good about.  However, I was making quickly and with the intention not to keep; I didn't have the opportunity to become attached, as I so often do with my work.  The makings of successful endeavors on all fronts, I think!



The Story of Wishing


This brooch is called Wishing. After writing some thoughts about brooches in Why Brooches? I wanted to provide a bit of insight to this piece. It is the image you see on this website and, after all, it is a piece that contributed to the development of the brooches and objects I would make next.

In the summer of 2013 I made this brooch for my sister. It was a celebratory piece. She had just earned her MFA in poetry and would soon be moving to Boston. At that point in time, I was preparing to enter into my last year of graduate school and was, after two years, still struggling to fine tune the aesthetics of my making. But it was summer and I didn't have to worry about editing artist statements or meeting critique deadlines. I was just making, alone in the stuffy studio with the lights off. What I made was large and wearable, a piece that would call attention to itself and to the wearer.

Large, wearable, and attention grabbing had never been intentions with which I ever set out. Of course, large to me at that point in time was barely over an inch and fifteen sixteenths. However, in letting this piece breathe, by making this world just a bit larger, I began to see how those who handled it remained curious about and engaged with it. What followed was a study in form, color, and texture through the format of brooches. I was able to take what I learned in making those brooches and translate it, even if I did compress it, into my objects.

As to the title, well, I had been introduced to Neko Case's Blacklisted ten years late. But I fell hard for her music and listened to that album almost non-stop. I Wish I Was The Moon, as well as Hard Way Home by Brandi Carlile, were at the top of my playlist. Between the songs I was listening to and the observations of those who saw the brooch often comparing it to the moon, my thoughts gravitated toward the curiosity and wonder surrounding the unknown, the anticipation of meeting it, and even the wanting and wishing for it.


What Are You Thinking? Project Update


Tonight was the opening reception for the University of Massachusetts Artisanry Alumni show, What Are You Thinking?  Although there were only a few in attendance, it was great to have my work in the company of so many talented artists, and see some of the things they've been working on.

Above is the piece I made, 'Wobbly.'  A small brooch, only about 2 x 2", 'Wobbly' is the first piece I made after graduating.  I have a few more of those wobbly, moon-like rings, so this could be the start of a small series!  It felt so good to make this little piece and I look forward to more post-graduate making.


Welcome to the Sideshow


Fellow graduate student, artist, and friend of mine, Chase Stevens of Raven Tooth Gallery, put together a little show called Welcome to the Sideshow.  I happily accepted the invitation to participate in this show as one of thirty artists.

With the MFA Thesis Show installed, defense of my work...defended, and my thesis finished (except for acknowledgements), I could finally work on my sideshow assignment - The Snake Charmer!  Sepia toned photographs of barely clothed, snake wrapped women had been on my brain for a few days when I sat down at my bench to make this brooch.

There was just enough time for a quick snapshot before packaging it up and handing it off to Mr. Stevens to be installed at Guts'n Glory Ink in Rosendale, NY.  And so, a thank you goes out to Chase for the opportunity to be a part of such a great show!

Now for the rest of those acknowledgements...


Sideshow Card