“I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.I will face my fear.I will permit it to pass over me and through me.And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

-The Litany Against Fear by Frank Herbert, from Dune

Modeling and studying the work of jewelry artists Lindsay Locatelli, Karen Gilbert and Myung Urso, respectively.

I love this quote, I memorized it for both of the deliveries of both of my children, and will be reciting it again for a third time in April for the birth of the last of them. I have it posted in my studio as well, and it reminds me to keep my bearing, even as I ‘fake it til I make it’ in the presence of much better and more established crafts-persons within the field I seek admittance to.

I was lucky enough to chat this weekend with Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro, Assistant Professor of Art Metals at University of Wisconsin-Stout, the ONLY established jewelry program at a university within driving distance of the Metro. He was sharing improvements that I could make on my brooches, musing about Myung Urso’s early work, and how far she has come in the years between when he had first encountered her and the present body of work she is creating.

Admiring fine craft in sculptural jewelry by Betty Jager, Biba Schutz and Masako Onodera who is faculty at UW Stout’s metalsmithing program.

It was extremely heartening for me to hear that she, too, had needed and made vast improvements in her brooch construction over the years, and that her work has come so far, so mine will too, if only I stick with it long enough to see it through. I often lust over the collection of her’s that we sell at Gallery 360, dreaming of closing the gap in quality construction and design refinement between the level she works on and the level I’m on currently.

So, I remind myself not to fear criticism, rejection or otherwise. I was afraid of compressed gas and fire until fairly recently, indispensable tools to an art jeweler, but we’re making friends and taking names. It’s been a huge year for me creatively, seeing this work through despite all the challenges, getting representation, bringing it to market, winning some and losing some. I look forward to the year ahead, let the adventure continue!

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