I was just thinking about different styles of designing and constructing jewelry, comparing how I work to how some of my friends work.

My m.o. is to make a whole lot of components – sometimes I have a plan in mind, sometimes no.  Most of the time I do have an overall theme or feel I want to express.  Then the process begins.   Metal clay components takes at least a couple of days – making, firing, tumbling, patina, more tumbling.  With the forged elements I’m working on right now, I’m cutting wire, forging, pairing and assembling, drilling and more assembling.

After that I gather the assorted bits and pieces that are calling to me at that moment … maybe faceted gems or raw diamonds that are soldered onto delicate links, maybe I’ll drill beach pebbles and glass, maybe I’ll drill bigger holes in jumbo luminous pearls.  A rush of excitement hits me as I gaze on my assembled materials and ponder my direction, ideas swirling and coalescing.  Then I sit down and begin to compose … maybe it’s more like improvisation.  This is my music, my dance, my poetry.

At my best, the work flows from a place deep inside.  A place I know intimately, but a place that can be fleeting and elusive.  It’s the well, the source, the heart.  Tapping into that place is not a given.  It remains a mystery and when I’m fully engaged and mining that source, it is pure heaven.  The challenge is to stay engaged throughout the process, from start to finish.

The inevitable starting and stopping and starting again is always a test.   My shortcut to getting hooked back into the process is music.  I listen to different kinds of music depending on the type of work I’m doing and have a bunch of Pandora stations programmed accordingly.   When I’m deep in the zone, the phone’s turned off and I don’t want any distractions, I’ve got my John Abercrombie/Fred Frith ambient station going.  Forging and soldering is, these days, all Fever Ray.  Stitching and knotting silk calls for something meditative with an eastern groove, that’s Angel Tears or Lumenis.  If I’m feeling stressed or trying to calm down, Shadowfax and Michael Hedges usually do the trick.  When I’m just in a good mood and looking for something lively, I turn to Cinematic Orchestra, Django Rheinhardt or Zero 7.

I’m not sure where I was headed with this.  Guess it’s just something I was thinking about while taking a bit of a break – an interesting exercise and just another part of the process.

with gratitude and blessings,