Last night, Molly and I had our weekly girl’s night out for dinner at Chipotle, browsing about downtown, hang-time. In the car on the way home I asked her why she thought people buy and wear jewelry. Her answer: Expression.
Now, this is really interesting to me, and granted, she’s my daughter. But I asked her then if she thought there were any other reasons… and so we talked about status (bling) as well as attracting the opposite sex. Ultimately though, we both agreed, expression is king.
Jewelry-making for me has been another medium my art has taken. I’ve explored (and am still exploring) SO many mediums… photography, drawing, fiction-writing, stitchery. Fiction (10 years) and jewelry (another 10) have lasted the longest. I think, at heart I’m a storyteller.
So, what does the jewelry-maker, herself, wear? Above is a recent piece that I’ve never even so much as photographed b/c it went right into my jewelry box. I guess this is my glamuorpuss version of steampunk? It’s so very balanced and symmetrical; a tendency I have to fight to overcome, but which I also think serves me at times.
This is a really early piece, a reworked vintage rhinestone princess necklace. I’ve had many offers to buy this right off my neck, but this is a piece I really wear a lot. It looks so good with dress-up clothes, or just t-shirt/jeans. And it is NOT symmetrical! Yay! I’m not sure what the story is behind either of these pieces, and it doesn’t really matter, in fact I’m happy when it’s a bit obtuse. I just know they mean a lot to me. A version of bling, attraction/repulsion, questions about value and adornment and an I-dare-you-attitude that was not as prevalent then as it may be now. Those would be some of the themes.
I also wear thrifted vintage jewelry. Above are two favorites. The black beads are super heavy glass faceted, I’m guessing mid-20th century Czech. I bought this at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market from this really oddball, charming old man. I actually think of him when I wear it… he seemed to be borderline insane and/or homeless and/or hoarding. I liked him a lot. The pink piece is also glass (older than the black necklace, maybe Japan), scored at a local thrift and I can’t really figure out the time period. The beadwork is truly unusual and gorgeous. These two necklaces are both choker length, which I love, and they look great layered. Rescuing old stuff has been and continues to be a lifetime mission. And it’s not about the environment to me, it’s about history. Who owned these? Where were they worn? It’s evocative and makes me feel connected to something both unknown and imagined.
I do, on rare occasion, purchase jewelry made by other people. Above and below are two pieces by Louis Waitt. I fell hard in love with both of these. It was as if they were made just for me, for no-one else, and if I didn’t have them I’d die. The ring above is a chunk of broken glass, smithed into a simple exaggerated pronged setting. This is my engagement ring. I am engaged to and betrothed to and in love with Art. Not a guy named Art. A practice of Art. A life of Art. A muse that I follow with the passion most follow a lover. It’s so corny, but this is a universal truth for me.
This piece, also by Waitt, is high-concept. Again, there is no way to say what it definitively means. It doesn’t matter, there is some feeling I get in my heart when I look at and wear this. An exuberant cow, riding along on his rusty three-wheeled cart. The wheels actually turn, so this is also a toy… it’s unbelievably playful, joyful, child-like. This cow is not on anyone’s plate. He’s wild and free and doing a happy dance!