|Turquoise and Sterling Silver Ring|
Self: This is perfect (holds it up and out for a better look). I want to keep it (slips item on and looks in mirror if necessary). I'm going to keep it.
More reasonable self: Should I keep it? I barely wear the pieces I've already collected.
Self: I'm sure I will wear it. In fact, keeping it will probably encourage me to make plans and get out more just so I can wear it.
Super romantic self: Certainly I'll run into someone "important" while wearing it and they will strike up a conversation when they see the piece. My work will be discovered and I'll be valued for that work. The next thing you know I'll be travelling the world learning from masters, researching metalsmiths past and present, visiting museums and galleries around the world, vacationing in far off places, and ...
Self: but that's not really the point. The point is this piece is meaningful. I worked hard on it. It reminds me of (insert something sentimental), and I am truly pleased with the final aesthetic and feeling it evokes.
More reasonable self: OK, I wont keep it. It should go to someone who will enjoy it, wear it, and who might possibly make their own sentimental associations with it. I can't keep everything. If I find that I really miss it when it's gone I'll revisit the idea and make something similar for myself. Also, money.
There are about 50 things from that inner dialogue that could be explored in greater depth: nurturing relationships, access to travel, art, and education, hubris, our relationship to work, how we determine value and self worth, whether or not it's healthy to have this conversation with myself so often or at all, etc. Also, money. But what I'm most interested in now is the power of an object. It's something I think about a lot while working at the bench. Even more so as I've begun incorporating more stones into my work. Some of which were collected almost a decade ago.
|Labradorite, Quartz, Moonstone|
A stone shines from a finished piece of jewelry that hangs from my neck or sits atop my finger. A stone in a piece that has just received its final polish after hours of detailed work often accompanied by cramped fingers and world music. A stone that was inserted and removed from its bezel to determine the appropriate bezel shape and height, that was wrapped in bezel wire, that was traced and sketched into a design, that was chosen from a tray of other stones in my studio, that was found in my favorite bead shop, or rock shop, or gem fair, or jewelry class. And with the stone comes all the associations from those places. The place where I went to purchase a kit for my first metalsmithing class and later perused with friends or family in search of the perfect tiny treasure. The place without any heat where I've lost many hours bundled up in jackets and scarves with freezing fingers touching stones and fossils that were somehow even colder. The place our metals class visited on a field trip to Oregon to look at potential grad schools, a house that was constructed of rocks complete with carved rock dioramas of religious scenes in its stairwell, a two story tree faced in petrified wood, and an assortment of specimens in the small gift shop on the bottom floor. The place where I found my mentor, lasting friendships, and my passion.
|From Chapman's Gem and Mineral|
And so when a piece is finished a struggle ensues. A tug of war between the desire to hold on to the experiences and ideas captured in the piece, and the desire to put the work out there and move on to the next discussion.
|Druzy Agate and Sterling Silver|
Thanks for reading!