handmade jewelry & metalsmithing

New Year=New Stuff

I'm so happy to have a new year as a reason to make a bunch of big improvements. I revamped my website, made a bunch of new jewelry, and rearranged my studio. I am very pleased to be the proud owner of a new jeweler's bench-handmade by my Dad-best Christmas present ever!

As for jewelry, I've been thinking about more about something I read by a French blacksmith. He was giving advice to aspiring metalworkers and said that new artists should avoid being completely abstract at first-people appreciate recognizable imagery-animals, natures, stories-they like being able to identify what they see & associate their own meanings. Then once you develop your own story as an artist, then they appreciate your work in the same way. I think this is very wise advice-when I see elements that I like in a piece, I like the piece; but as I understand the style of the artist over time, it becomes familiar and complete on its own. So, I'm beginning this new year with design-baby steps, by taking recognizable images that I love aesthetically, and interpreting them in the style that I love in metal.

First step is a little totem of wisdom, the owl. I sketched out my idea of an owl, which is somewhere around a hello kitty shaped head, the tootsie pop owl and the one that gives a hoot about pollution. I decided to stay away from real images of owls, it's an exercise in the subtlety of symbols to dig up the visual cues in your memory that represent an object to you. There's a real difference in the reality of a subjet in nature & the recognizability of a subject in symbols. The most characteristic details are amplified, and all the other elements can be stylized. It's kind of like the pet store-all the creatures there are modified from their wild ancestors to be the most pleasing visual ideal, sometimes almost cartoon-like in contrast to the original.

I have the finished owl pendants up on Etsy now, in black or silver with twisted square wire to bring in the ironwork theme, which I love.

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