There are times when I wish that I had started studying jewellery earlier. I had wanted to attend an out of province art school right of of high school, but circumstances (a diagnosis of Lupus and years of medical treatments) made that impossible. I took a more meandering route, studying humanities and fine arts (ceramics & art history) at the local university. I came to study jewellery after years of work in both the nonprofit sector and as a business owner. I often worry that because I am not a formally trained artist I will be left behind, never making the connections one needs, never finding my authentic “voice” in jewellery. I have to remind myself that I am doing this out of interest and self fulfilment not to “make it big” or build a wholesale brand. Don’t get me wrong, I do think of H&A as a business, I want to create things that others want to wear, but I have no desire to be churning out hundreds of pieces at a time. It is all about the creative process. So I want to share some of my inspirations and explorations with you.
I am still evolving my own “style”. I am inspired by so many different elements of jewellery design and sometimes I just want to try something, see if I can figure out the techniques used. But I am narrowing down my vision and focus. By paying attention to what things really make me light up. I want to share a bit of this with you so that you can join me in this process.
I am inspired by shapes and colours (evidence of that can be found in my growing collection of stones). I have a very eclectic personal style; definitely not a minimalist. I collect textiles and tchotchkes. I love little things. I am very much a visual thinker and have 3-4 sketch books of ideas/inspo going at any time. I have always been that way. Every now and then I will empty out a cupboard of random things and find a sketch book from my 20’s – sometimes I have completed the project (and it is fun to see the process) other times I cringe.
I take cues from modern abstract / abstract expressionist artists, especially Kandinsky & Miro; Helen Frankenthaler is my absolute favourite. I have used themes found in the sculptural work of Calder in my own designs. I love the Brutalist/modernist jewellery designers of the 60’s and 70’s like Canadian Guy Vidal. I remember the first time I saw these artists’ works in person, in NYC on a school field trip. I felt like an entirely new world was opened up to me.
The things that inspire me most however are elements and textures from nature – leaves, shells, beach stones, the way metal looks when left to rust. And the places I have travelled and love the most – beaches around the globe, ancient spaces and the adornments/talismans people have been crafting for centuries.
As I work on my collection for Spring and Summer I think I have started to “get my groove”, to find my voice as a jewellery artist. I wonder if you will be able to pick out some of these themes when you look at my pieces?