I’m coming from a background in image making and sculpture, I’m not a jeweler, and it shows. In addition to struggling with how diminutive sculpture is supposed to move with the body, and the challenge of making minuscule connections, I hope that strengths from those other disciplines can also be seen. Solving a design problem should theoretically be the same no matter the scale, balancing composition and the quality of craftsmanship should speak across mediums too.

I do get a little confused by all the rules that I’ve encountered in the little training I’ve had in metal-smithing. I have more time under my belt TIG welding than soldering. I appreciate tradition and expertise, but haven’t found that the techniques of fine metal-working speak to the forms and effects I’m after. A genuine red-headed stepchild, I can’t help but to turn all the advice I’ve received on it’s head, and would much rather make the mistake myself and know first hand that it doesn’t work than to take your word for it.

20151021_123500My answer to those feather earrings everyone was wearing; dyed bucktail posts.

Sometimes the outcomes don’t hold up to the abuse of wear, sometimes they fit my body and not yours – oops. Sometimes, a piece might work great as a stand-alone object, but be impractical or unapproachable for most wearers. Should all these things factor in to the development of new work? Absolutely, but not so much as to drive the fun out of the mistakes and surprises along the way. That totally avoidable mess over there might just be the greatest discovery I’ve made this month, and is sure to inform the next cycle.

Brooches featuring the same dyed bucktail material, traditionally used in fly-tying.

So, I might choose metal snips over a jeweler’s saw (evidently that’s cheating), but if that decision means that I can take more creative risks because I’ve saved time to tease-out details elsewhere in the piece, it makes for a sound decision in the end, right? From a jeweler’s perspective, its not an acceptable trade-off. I guess in that sense, I’m happy not to have made the grade in that way, and better off as a sculptor for the body. I’ll happily break rules in the interest of making material discoveries that would never have happened otherwise.


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