Friday, September 14, 2007

Which comes first?

I've had a lot of people ask me if the jewelry inspires the stories, or the stories inspire the jewelry, so I thought I'd clear that up early in the life of this blog. Really, they are both separate, and it's more like a marriage. The stories come from my imagination, but they are based on things that have happened to me, or to people around me, or things that I have heard or read about. Their themes are always floating around in my head; they are about the things that matter to me.

The jewelry is like that, too. Some of it is very ornate, some of it is almost stark -- and some pieces are just fun and playful. They all come from different places in my mind, from my many moods and desires. My inspiration for a piece may come from a stone, from a weave, from the arc of a rose cane climbing into a tree in my garden, or from a baby frog sitting on a lily pad in my pond.

Now: how do the stories meet and marry the jewelry? They meet in the spaces between thought. Quite a lot of the time I spend making jewelry requires much from my fingers, but very little from my brain. Coiling and cutting rings; weaving chain; wrapping teeny tiny faceted rondelles and briolettes; all of these take a good deal of time and dexterity, but not a lot of conscious thought. And so, my mind wanders.

One day, I was thinking of a friend whose only son was going off to college, and then I noticed that the bracelet I was making looked like the Xs and Os that I used to sign my letters with when I was a child; the story for Hugs and Kisses came from that meeting. Another day, I was pondering my own faith, and the seed beads I was using looked like grains of sand . . . which of course led me to the thought that small as my faith seems some days, if I have faith only the size of a grain of sand, I can still move mountains. And from that comforting realization, I created another woman whose faith was small, but perhaps large enough, after all.

There are more stories of the marriages of words and jewelry, but that's enough for now. Both ultimately come from my heart and soul, but I think you already knew that . . .

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