On seeing my work, it is pretty obvious that the curling form is one of my obsessions. As with many obsessions, this one started early for me. I distincly remember using up the ink of my pens as I filled my high school notebooks with curling forms, searching for the perfect arrangement.
Fortunately, at my high school in Wisconsin, I was able to take classes in art metals. I had an outlet other than my trigonometry notebook in which to expore this obsession. Since, I hadn't yet encountered art from Nepal or Tibet, the art style most near and dear to me at this time was Art Nouveau.
This necklace was mabye the fifth piece I made in metal. I like how it is connected it in a way that is very free-form and not fussy. I was about 16 years old and it took me the entire semester to finish.
After high school, I started making sculpture rather than jewelry. I still had a fascination with curls and vines, but also began exploring branches and tree forms.
During my study abroad in Nepal, I made quite a few of these tree-inspired sculptures, like the one at the right. The trees were always somewhat twisting and weather-beaten. Much like I saw when I was in the high altitude regions of the Himalayas.
Most of the time, the jewelry I make is easy to wear. However, I decided to challenge the wearer a little bit. I had a longing to combine the wearibility of the jewelry with sculpture. A necklace that is a bit heavy and substantial and that actually has branches sticking up off of the body.
I returned to the tree theme and also mixed up some the same wax that is used in traditional casting in Nepal. The wax is a mix of beeswax and tree resin, which brough from Nepal with me. It becomes very soft, like clay when heated. Then, as it cools, it becomes hard. It is a bit too sticky to be carved when it is hardened, so most of the shaping is done when soft. Each section is then cast and joined with rivets.
I am calling this necklace the Yunnan Mountain Necklace. It is sterling silver and 18K gold.