I’ve been squeezing in some fiber work between days in the studio working with silver, glass, and stone.
I’ve been trying to think back to when I discovered my love of fiber and I believe it dates back to childhood. My grandmother was always making something with yarn–afghans, pillows, or some iteration of crochet socks or scarves that everyone would receive at Christmas.
I remember digging through bags of her colorful scrap yarn ends and gluing coiled pieces of the remnants onto paper to make coasters. It kept me busy for hours.
When I was in about third grade she taught me how to crochet granny squares. I still love crochet. I have no idea what to do with it, but I love the process. At one point she tried to teach me to knit but that didn’t stick. I kept getting frustrated at dropped stitches and unraveling.
When I wasn’t at that grandma’s house I was busy learning embroidery at my great-grandma’s house. I remember the pillow cases with patterns stamped on them, or maybe it was tea towels. Either way, she taught me how to stitch with thread, and a few different stitches. My favorite was the French Knot.
I am blessed to have had crafty grandmas who spent time with me and had the patience to teach me.
Yesterday I came to an impasse with the silver so I moseyed over to the lapidary station and started going through my rock collection. That’s one thing I love about making this type of jewelry. If I get stymied in one area there are plenty of others I can jump to for a while in order to clear my head.
I’ve been looking at one particular rock for a while now, just knowing that it was meant for greater things. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it before I started in on it but you can see it here, where I used it for a photographic prop.
Well, yesterday he spoke to me and encouraged me to use him. I had mixed feelings about that because I found it hard to believe that if something was sentient enough to talk to me, surely it wouldn’t be telling me to chop it up into little pieces. But, I went with it because I get into that stuff, and it was nice to have someone to chat with for the moment in my solitary studio. He reassured me that it was ok, and reminded me that matter is never destroyed, it just changes form. I promised him that I’d keep him beautiful and do him justice.
I think my cutting and polishing came out well, and I now had to give him a good home, or homes, in silver. But I wasn’t ready for getting back to the silver just yet. I was loving the black and white palette so I pulled out some fossil slab that had been waiting patiently for me since February.
That’s when the voices really started. And you can see why. All of those little white things used to be motile little creatures and they still have a lot to say. I set about freeing them into little vignettes of their last moments before being frozen in time.
It was hard to choose which areas to focus on. The more I looked at them, the more I saw and I know that the images are tiny and detailed but I hope that when someone wears them in a piece of jewelry that they find enjoyment in peering deeply and experience the realms that I do.
The one below caught my eye immediately. My first unicorn sighting. I have a feeling it won’t be my last.
I’ve been continuing on with the art leading the way. I find myself working as a zoom lens. Honing in on a small area and not thinking about what is outside it. It sucks me in, and when I zoom back out it’s interesting to see what has been created. In this way, it’s not me running the show and controlling what will appear. It is the creative process, in real time, dictating what happens.
Stepping back from this piece I can see many things emerging. I have more to do before the picture will be fully visible to me and just because I see certain things right now, doesn’t mean that those will be the images that survive in the end. So, I continue to hone in on the areas that need to be filled, and suspend judgment until I embark on the next step of refinement.
It’s a work in process. I just meant to type that it’s a work in progress, but I think that “work in process” is pretty accurate as well. One little stroke at a time it unfolds. Much like life. As it is in progress you might sit back and think, “Yeah. I don’t like what I see so much.” But then you have to remember to have faith, and continue working. Nothing is permanent, everything can change, and sometimes it’s ugly before beauty emerges. Sometimes beauty doesn’t emerge, so you disconnect from the work for a while. Maybe you come back and try again. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you come back and think, “Hm. It’s not really that bad. I actually like it.”
It’s pretty fascinating to watch and experience, and I enjoy relating the art process to life, letting it teach me.