Monday, July 28, 2008

Jeweler by Night

Flourish of Gold exhibit with my work in the foreground

Right now, I am just getting over my adrenaline depletion. I managed to get the work for the Kohler Center show to the Manhattan UPS depot just 10 minutes before closing. This is not an unusual circumstance to find myself in, despite my attempts to have my creativity come in normal daytime working hours. Before big shows, no matter what I do, I always end up staying up all night. I didn't actually work through the night this time, but I did keep pushing quitting time to 9, 10, midnight, then finally 2 AM. I seem to have breakthroughs at that time, and after reading this article in the New Yorker, I was able to see that there have been studies done in the field of brain science regarding this phenomena.

Unfortunately, the whole article is not online, but the essence of it is there is a part of the right hemisphere of the brain that helps tie together disparate ideas from across the brain in an intense moment of impulse. This is the moment of "A-ha", which comes as a creative idea or a solution to the problem comes in a flash of brain activity.

The only problem with accessing this ability is that the brain must be relaxed. If the brain becomes more focused, the left brain executive area takes over and the more subtle right brain impulses get overridden.

When I am on a tear working in the studio, the adrenaline helps me get through the long hours of mental and physical labor. It cannot, however, be turned off easily when it is time to sleep, so that leaves me even more tired than I should be. I can see that this tiredness could increase the possibility of right brain insight when my back is against the proverbial wall. So it looks like there may be reason not to alter my pattern.

I have always tried to change these natural tendencies, but if there is brain science backing me up, why fight it? Onward with delirious creativity!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bracelet Show

Wrought Inlay Bracelet
blackened sterling silver

Last week, I sent off some bracelets for a show at 3rd Ward Jewelry. They were one of the first galleries to represent me, so I was delighted to be able to make some special things for the show. This bracelet was the product of a late night right before I had to send the pieces off. No matter how much I try, everything comes together in the last minute for me. However, like this bracelet, sometimes it is the pressure and the lack of over thinking that can push me in new directions. I really love this new direction and I wasn't really ready to send it off yet. It is important to spend time with new pieces before they leave my studio.

This week, I am pushing myself very hard to get together a great group of works for a show at the Kohler Arts Center. This show is called "A Flourish of Gold". Obviously, with a title like this, my work is quite a prominent feature of the show.

I am really enjoying the process of making this new work, but I have to admit, I have some sore arms and hands right now!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Jeweler by day...

What? It has been a month since I was here?

I do have a reason for that. I usually post in the evening after my work in the studio is done. However, I have been occupied this last month by spending my evenings in the dance studio or bent over a sewing machine. For the last two years, I have been studying middle eastern dance (aka bellydance), and my teacher Kaeshi finally persuaded me to get up on the stage and perform. On July 2nd, I got out there and performed my own choreography in a costume I had made, bedecked, of course, in my jewelry.

Why is this relevant to jewelry? I have realized that studying a performing art has had a profound effect on my studio practice. Most concretely, my various aches and pains from hours working on tiny things have vanished. Moreover, it has stretched my mind with a curiosity to see just what I am capable of. What are the most outrageous possibilities for my work? If I can learn this dance well into adulthood with virtually no dance experience, what can I push myself to achieve in the craft I have been practicing since my teens?

Another aspect of the creative outlet of dance is the theatricality of costuming. Just as the costumes enhance the experience of viewing the dance, jewelry can enhance our presence on the stage of daily life. Why not enhance, or create a new persona with the jewelry. My work has obviously become more bold over the past year and this can be directly attributed to my dance experience.

The other thing that I love about dancing is the exuberance I encounter among the dancers I meet. They are people who have released their creative energy in a major way and have shaped their lives around their passion. I have met very few complainers among them. The sense of community is also very strong. Although I love my community of jewelers and craftspeople, the reality is that we are not so compelled to work in such a community and collaborative environment, which is something I have always longed for.

I would recommend to other artists that taking up another discipline can be a very good way to invigorate the original passion. Creative people have so many ways to approach work that crossing boundaries of disciplines can be a great way to gain new insight.