Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Creative Process

It's important, from time to time, to turn from your favorite media and work in a different way. Changing your materials can make your work more fresh and allows many more opportunities for exploration and discovery of  form.

Today I'd like to share with all of you a selection of my watercolor studies. These exercises did not all result in a piece of jewelry, but they lead to many exciting discoveries about form, color, and composition. Most importantly - they were super fun!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Process of Making: Preliminary Sketches

Since I often work in expensive or hard-to-get materials, it is very important to make certain design decisions before work on the final piece begins. The process of making a piece is so fluid - it starts with drawing upon drawing, followed by mock-ups in clay or paper, and then finally working in the final material. Any single work can go through several transformations, and can often look radically different from its original source material.

Just for fun, let's look at a few sketches, and the pieces they turned into!

Culicidae (2008)

This piece was originally going to be a more abstracted form, a la the bottom drawings. (Good thing it didn't turn out that way!) You can tell this was the first insect, because the forms were a lot more simplified. The wooden body is all one piece, as opposed to later works which were divided into sections like a real insect.

Apocrita (2008)

Some changes happen due to conscious design choices. Others are dictated by the demands and limitations of the medium. In this case, the design remains relatively faithful, except where the technical needs of the medium require a different solution. The three-dimensional form is much more expressive and alluring because the body appears frozen in action. This is because the body was put together in a curved profile rather than perfectly aligning each section like the sketch.

Cicada Killer (2011)

This is a piece that underwent many changes during its creation. The first sketch is very faithful to the original creature because I was working from the form itself. I had found a dead Cicada Killer specimen in my yard and kept it to use as reference. It is SO much more helpful to work from a three-dimensional reference than from a picture, especially when you yourself are working in three dimensions!

In the second picture, you can see that the piece was originally much more cluttered. In the original concept, this piece was a wasp hair comb with a honeycomb form. I ended up scrapping the honeycomb - the piece was much stronger after editing that out!

The third picture is the piece as it was originally intended to be worn. I'm ultimately happy it became a brooch - it is certainly much more practical this way.

Ombre Earrings - Production Work



This is a great example of the power of editing. These were originally going to have bees at the top with a gradient cascade of amber. It became clear that the strength of the concept was in the play of color and didn't need the extra element of the bee. I was able to continue the thought in "Worker's Repose", which takes elements from the original sketch but goes in a different direction.

Next time, I'll share with you some pretty paintings that didn't necessarily become their own jewelry pieces but helped inform a lot of future designs.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Moving Forward

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show was so amazing. I had such a blast talking to everyone and seeing all of the lovely works. In fact, I had such a good time that I decided I wanted my own booth this year!

When the thought entered my brain I thought "What are you, a crazy person??" (Answer: Very Likely...) Yes, I did have a lot of fun helping at the UARTS Alumni booth in November. But assisting a 21-person group booth and manning my own are two very, very different things.

First and foremost, I'd have to get juried into the show. After that, there's quite a bit of booth fees
(all proceeds help the Museum, of course!). 

Then I would need to design and build a booth. 
And most importantly, I'd have to make alllll the work to fill it!

 That's a lot of money and even more work! I must have been crazy!
But great things never happen when you do what is comfortable.

So, I submitted my work to be juried. This involved making some new works, since I'd sold quite a bit at the Craft Show last year. Then all I needed were some gorgeous photographs.

(Photography by Ken Yanoviak)

Unfortunately, I didn't make it into the show this year. However, just the process of applying was really exciting and pushed me out of my comfort zone. It gave me a chance to assess where I want my work to go and what I want to do with it.

Now, on to bigger and better things! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Catch Up Time!

It's been awhile, folks! When I'm busy in the studio, I often get so lost in the work that I forget to update the rest of the world. It's time for a little catch-up! 

I've had a lot going on, and I'll bore you with the details later. In the meantime, I have a lot of studio photos I've been dying to share.

First, let's check out some in-progress photos of my piece
"Worker's Repose"!
(aka: "I make too many brooches!")