Monday, June 1, 2009


I feel reluctant to call myself an Artist. I was talking to a friend about this the other day, and she asked me why. The answer that popped into my head was that true Artists feel a creative spirit that wells up from inside, something that has to express itself - a compulsion to create. They aren't in it for money or fame, they are following a passion they possibly can't even explain themselves, right? She blinked and replied, "well isn't that you?"

And, it turns out, that is me, its just that I am the last to know. I feel creating jewelry is something that just sort of happened, something I stumbled upon, like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk. You're happy its there, but you don't feel like it has anything to do with you.

As I thought about it, I remembered my childhood rock collection - dull round rocks that held treasures of glistening crystals within. I loved my rock polisher, and would spend hours on the beach collecting and cataloguing stones. Barbie dolls? Not so much. There is something visceral for me about stones, gems and crystals - I marvel at how nature can produce such an amazing array of colors and textures deep in the earth. My favorite bead store is a funky little place in Enfield, NH - an improbable little compound with buildings chock full of every imaginable kind of stone. There is a large pit there full of little polished rocks, and I have to stifle the urge to simply lie down in it and wallow (a desire my 3 year old did not feel the urge to suppress when he was there... ).

I approach creating jewelry the same way I approach lots of things in life ... with a vague notion that something is pleasing to me, but not sure really how its all going to turn out. I find stones, crystals and beads that move me somehow, and I sit in my studio (read: what used to be our dining room) and I start working with them. I have, quite literally, no idea how a piece will turn out when I begin working on it; the surprise of how it will turn out is half the fun. I love mistakes - they lead to some of the best creative ideas.

I know other creative people who feel this way about paint, fabric or glass. My good friend Kate (now she's REALLY an Artist) created this amazing window from reclaimed materials and beautiful glass. At her house one day I saw sketches, materials, and heard her talk about some ideas, but from what I saw the window is more born than it is made. Sure, she's doing the work, but its like the piece speaks to her and helps her along.

All of this is what makes it hard to put yourself out there and sell your art. Its intensely personal to create, so its like exposing pieces of your inner self to the world. Much of what I create is just for me, and if someone else can appreciate it, that's great too. But its difficult to keep those two notions separate sometimes. I can't worry about whether a piece will sell, or whether it will be well received by the world at large. But me being me, it has taken time to ignore that, too. Its freeing, somehow, to know that pieces essentially create themselves. Because then if nobody likes it - I'm off the hook, right?

A couple of days ago my kids and I were strolling on the same beach where thirty years ago I first found my own treasures, and my 6 year old daughter picked up a perfect round little stone with startling colors of bright greens and blues. She looked up and me and said "Its like magic, Mom ... how did nature make this?". Then she took it home and made a necklace out of it. Atta girl.

1 comment:

  1. One. Crafty. Mother. You bet! Congratulations on a great start to a promising project. Lots of love... M.