Today was my first full day making jewelry after a semester of teaching. The political climate in the USA can be felt everywhere, even in the classroom. Like a pinched nerve, it nags the spirit. In the studio, I felt like a castaway on an island surrounded by treasure, not really sure if I ever wanted to be rescued. I made two collages and a couple of necklaces. The work flowed out like a long sigh. It will be several weeks before I return to teaching. Until then I will enjoy being marooned.
I found my words again although the geo-political atmosphere continues to be contaminated. Lots of shit flinging, a behavior observed in monkeys and apes, and the insane. And it’s contagious. I’d best stay clear and take a watchful position.
It appears that the heart theme has displaced the spiral theme and enameling has displaced the knotting. The colors make me feel childlike and cheery. The urge to place a heart on a piece seems to be a calling to “take heart”. Loving the clarity of Czech glass beads, too. I feel aligned with the work.
I see the path back to painting. I miss painting like I miss a lost relationship; the effort to reestablish flow is sometimes too much. But the energy is rising.
There are new options on the horizon. I hope 2017 will not be as steeped in loss as 2016 has been for so many of us. Let’s take heart and look to the future.
My Heart And I – Poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning 6th and 7th verse
Tired out we are, my heart and I.
Suppose the world brought diadems
To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
Of powers and pleasures ? Let it try.
We scarcely care to look at even
A pretty child, or God’s blue heaven,
We feel so tired, my heart and I
Yet who complains ? My heart and I ?
In this abundant earth no doubt
Is little room for things worn out :
Disdain them, break them, throw them by
And if before the days grew rough
We once were loved, used, — well enough,
I think, we’ve fared, my heart and I.
When I make pieces, whether painting, jewelry or collage, the impulse comes from a reaction to the materials at hand…it’s what I see in front of me at the moment. That’s why the studio almost always looks like a bomb went off in it. The scatter of available materials lets me see, all at once, what is available to play with. When everything is tucked away neatly, inhibition sets in and I feel blocked.
Right now the studio is covered in stone beads and knotting cord.I feel an almost oppressive urge to knot stone beads (cool stone, self soothing, rhythmic movements) into long necklaces, with spiral focal pendants. The movement in the spiral symbolizes change, turbulence and transition which is something that’s pressing on my consciousness relentlessly. These are turbulent times. It’s windy out there.
The colors triggering the impulse are earthy, and subdued as if to counter the wild emotion I am witnessing in the political digital universe.
Bear with me. I suspect new themes will emerge after November 8.
So much of my life has been about trying again. When I was a teenager, my mom once told me that it was important to be true to oneself. I had no idea what she meant. I thought you had to fit in, work hard to get recognized. I failed at that many times. My kids now say “mom has to commit to her work”. So here I am being an artist. It’s still very hard. I’m still trying again.
Jewelry is easier to sell than paintings. From a practical point of view, it’s clear: it’s easier to accommodate a small, affordable work than a large canvas. Someone once told me that people buy jewelry even in tough times because it can lift the spirit. I am curious about this power. How does it do that? Maybe because we like (need) eye food. Looking at, and holding jewelry is an intimate experience. A meditation of sorts, a right brain micro-holiday; and I think most of my supporters have magpie traits, too.