Saturday, November 19, 2016

speaking your truth

mary jane dodd




without maybe even knowing it, you are already drawn to your expression of things, your life, your feelings, the world we live in. our world is a visually rich world - pinterest, google, etsy, etc., loads of magazines and craft books. when you are seeking to find your way, your voice, it can become overwhelming and a bit confusing. start by doing what feels right to you, to your insides. if you feel a bit of fear or resistance, you are probably getting close to it. because what we do makes us very vulnerable - this is, in effect, your heart in metal (or the medium you choose). each hammer strike, each small decision is you - 

i have always been drawn to words - and would use the quotes of others in my descriptions. (please always give credit where credit is due.) then i began using phrases that resonated with me - and often came from me. 

my descriptions became my own writing - and they found their way into metal.


and then onto wall plaques



i deeply enjoy writing - so the words most recently have made their way into a book.




the point being - follow your heart, your gut, your interests. there is a body of work in you, a cohesive 'you' in what you apply your heart, mind and hands to. it takes time. i began this venture into adornment 16 years ago. as a child i wanted to be a poet. but it had to come into being with the physical work. if pieces are narrative in nature - share what it is about. people want to know. 

so look at things that inspire you - a pair of earrings can be inspired by spring wisteria or autumn leaves. but don't limit it to jewelry - look at nature, sculpture, painting. when you read, does anything mean so much to you that you have to share it? that happened to me when a passage from aldous huxley's island was shared. the word 'lightly' is now integrated into my personal life philosophy and something i want to connect to others with. 

i think most of us start from the place of aesthetics - creating beautiful things that can be worn. but as we learn, it can become more - in so many different ways. your work never ever has to be narrative, it can be sculptural, or influenced by nature. 

keep at it - and even once you think maybe you are onto something, keep pushing, expanding. stay curious. 

and share it all with us - 

in peace,

mary jane




Thursday, November 17, 2016

Philly Contemporary Craft Show Part 2: Jewelry

by Staci Louise Smith

So, I can confess that I agonized over what jewelry to wear to this event.  I mean, when you know the jewelry there is going to be out of this world fabulous, you just have to look like you belong.....ha!

Anyhow, I ended up just wearing one of my favorites that looked good with my outfit.  

I went to the show for two reasons, one, to enjoy the art, and two, to scope it out, in case I get the courage to apply myself one of these days.  I also wanted to see what the displays and booths looked like compared to other shows.

During my visit, as I took in these jewelry artists in all their varied glory, I went through all the phases of self doubt that we artists can go through.
1st phase- "what was I thinking?"
2nd phase- "seriously, what was I thinking?  These people are masters"
3rd- "1mm diamonds set in gold......two hundred of them, and I wire together beads"

You get the picture.

But I did also go through some internal pep talk, and decided, that I am not any of those artists.  And just because my work is different and made different, doesn't make it less worthy.  Besides, they will just say no if I am not ready to be there.

So, I knew that Ford Forlano Jewelry would be there and it would be my first opportunity to take in their work in person.  I have long admired their modern polymer clay and silver jewelry.  They are masters of colors and textures that delight the senses.

I got to meet David Forlano and he was very nice- he encouraged me to touch the jewelry, and you know I did!  It is so bold in person.  Yet despite their size, the pieces seemed very wearable and comfortable.  An immense amount of thought and planning goes into the construction of their pieces- and it shows.






I also could not wait to meet Kathleen Dustin.  Her work graces the cover of Polymer Journeys (quick plug, if you like polymer or just awesome jewelry, you should grab a copy of this book) and I was thrilled that her piece was actually there to see in person.




This is the piece on the cover of the book.  Her sense of design and play is obvious.  She uses a plethora of techniques.  Each piece is like a small sculpture, a piece of modern art.  It was so great to see her work in person, and we chatted techniques and clay.  She was really cool to spend a little time with.

So, I knew those guys were going to be there, and I was already a fan of their work.  The rest of these people, blew me away.  I had no time to prepare myself for their awesomeness.

Right off the back, I saw Aleksandra Vali's work in the program and knew I had to make my way to her booth.

this is a brooch that I loved




This was probably my favorite, it was a brooch, that rests on a sculpture when not being worn, and can be a necklace as well.  
Not only is the idea fantastic, but the organic sculptural quality of the piece is wonderful



Ok- now take a breather, I know you need one after that.

Now meet Tara Locklear Jewelry.  I will be honest, I almost didn't go into her booth, but on second glance, I knew I loved her composition and had to take a closer look.  I knew it was wood, but after talking with her, I found out it was recycled skateboards!  the paint is original, and so they are often double sided and reversible too.




These are the shots I grabbed at the show, but here are some from her website.  I was totally intrigued and loved looking at all the painted surfaces and fun shapes.  I think she captures the life these skateboards once lived, as well as giving them a new life as modern jewelry.




We got to see Carolyn Morris Bach's work in person.  I know mom and I have pinned her work on Pinterest before.  Again, it was so exciting to get to see her work in person.  Each of her pieces is like a little fairy tale, with a modern art spin.  Folk and modern together.  






Sorry- I used the pictures from her site, and they saved tiny.  But you can go to her site and see her work for yourself.  It's amazing.

There was also the work of Reiko Ishiyama.  Anything that requires a great amount of structural planning has my love anyday.  And these pieces were no exception.  Very geometric, and 3-dimensional, they screamed modern art through and through.  




(pictures from their website)

One of the last booths I saw, and maybe my favorite of all (you will see why in just a minute)


Her work combines all the things I love about nature.  The gemstones she uses, I collections of my own at home.  So her work really resonated with me on a deep level.  







Her sense of composition is dead on, and her combination of materials is surprising yet perfect.  Yep, I am a fan for life now.

Cara Romano had some great pieces as well.  She combines modern shapes and metal with soft felt.  I think I was most taken with her pieces that are felted, but looked like concrete or stone like this one below.
I also really liked her metal forms on their own, like these earrings

I met Brienne Rosner there and her work sucked me right in.  She is a mixed media artist, and I could not place right away was her pieces were made from, so this always intrigues me.
(her link goes to her instagram while she works on her site- you can check out her Facebook page here)
From chatting with her, her pieces I believe are wood and paint, and she stitches beads onto them .......and here is the coolest part.  She makes jewelry, but she also makes wall art, where the jewelry piece is a part of it, and is removable and wearable.






I have always wanted to make 3-d art that my jewelry is a part of when not in use.  So it was really awesome to see other artist who have put that into fruition and their different takes on it.

Last, but not least, was Biba Schutz.  I wish I had taken photos of her booth.  Everything in it made me want to look closer and drool a bit.  So I had to take to the interwebs to grab some pictures.  This picture of her booth is close to how it was at the show.  I call this the wall that was dripping wire- and I had to go in for a closer look. How could you not?

She also had wire sculptures, used mica and bone and other odd things set in heavily oxidized silver...........it was all right up my alley.









And I leave you here.  Probably unable to mutter anything after all that gorgeousness.  I do hope you will go to the sites and visit these artists, take in their statements about their work, and enjoy.  I know I did.





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