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This year has been interesting to say the least, and became a struggle in the sense that with shows all cancelled, travel limited, galleries closed and it has left me for the first time in my career facing a creative desert. So I started an exercise of reflection – and long story short, started contemplating how my life falls into a variety of circles – family, various groups of friends, creative colleagues, scientific colleagues and so on. And these circles change, growing or shrinking throughout ones life. You can see a video blog I did about this creative thought process here. I would like to share with you what has grown from that process, my newest collection – Encircled.
Spending each summer of my childhood in the George Washington National Forest, living and working in the tropical forests in the Amazon basin of Bolivia, and finally setting down roots in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA has left the deep green of forests, leaves, vine and flowers, and the animals that inhabit them embedded in my psyche. This collection pays homage to my love of these forest ecosystems.
In college I took a physics based Astronomy course and have ever since found myself looking to the heavens. Reading star charts, making sure to mark meteor showers in my calendar, noting what planets can be seen when, getting giddy at the appearance of comets or solar or lunar ecilipses. I am awestruck by the vastness of the universe, the beauty and magnificence. This collection is my attempt to reflect in a tiny way some of what is only glimpsed beyond our atmosphere.
Have you ever found yourself drawn into some small detail in nature that makes you think “wow”? Looking into the insides of a broken sea shell, watching the swirl of water is a streams eddy, or the slow unfurling of a fern fiddlehead (and to include my nerdy side, learning about the golden mean) I recognized the simple beauty of a spiral. Simple, elegant, curling. I, like most humans, have days where I want to curl into myself and turn away from the world, and then other days I want to unfurl, reach out and broaden my experience. This is Spiral.
During my years in Bolivia, living and learning from some of the most amazing people with a rich and vibrant culture, I was taught that there is always reason to dance. In celebration, as a divine calling, to honor those living and who have passed on, or to just share time with friends, good food, and music. The Dancers came to life at first as abstract depictions of female forms, arms raised in dance, but has grown to include a bit of the mystical, the magical, and the male. New dancers are born each year and I feel, just as there is always a reason to dance, there will always be another dancer to be created.
The Eco collection is a much less specific collection than many of my others. These pieces don’t follow a narrow definition, but appear during the creation of my other focused collections. They come from my many distractions – the emergence of a butterfly from a chrysalis, or that fascinating texture on a broken sea shell or piece of bark I picked up on a walk, the few moments of watching a red tailed hawk soaring in clear blue skies. I find the natural world rife with beauty and I find it hard to stay too focused on specific design theme. So Eco is the natural world demanding my attention.
Sterling Botanicals is a collection that has coalesced from my work as a potter (clay is fun), many childhood days playing in the mud, and that pervasive and strong leaning of mine towards the natural world. And the appearance of a totally new jewelry medium in our creative repertoire – Precious Metal Clay. Silver suspended in a clay like binder that is more fun than play dough, and when fired in a kiln leaves only the silver. I use real leaves and press them into the clay where they leave the impression of their shape, veins, and texture and use them to create the pieces you see here.