Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Early work continues

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.

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