Recently I refreshed my Artists Statement feeling that after 6 years it was probably a good time to look at what has changed about my work and some of my influences.
This can be super hard, as I am so deeply involved in what I do from start to finish that I can be totally clueless about how to verbally state what it is I love about making jewelry, and what influences and drives my process. This is especially hard when I look back at where I have started and where I am now. I feel that there is something happening within my work that has gone to a deeper level. Something that is more connected and thought through. But what is it exactly?
I really want to tell you about all the things that I think are so so special about making jewelry. From start to finish. What inspires me, what materials I like to use. What techniques I hold dear. All the things! Let me just start with one of the things perhaps. Something that hasn’t changed since I was a little girl. Something that is deep in my soul, my influence and inspiration. Nature.
Nature did not leave my artists statement and I don’t think it ever will. I think a big part of my life, really, is where I live and grew up. Oregon, and more specifically Central Oregon. I come from a long line of tree huggers and nature lovers. Not just “let’s go plant a tree on this beautiful Wednesday” nature lover but the respect and love for mountains, rivers and animals and how they all work together, nature lover. I was named for a river after all.
One of the things that is always on my check list when Adam and I go camping, road tripping, or down a river, is my sketch book. I know I’ll see something that is new to my eyes as the sun hits it just right that I think to myself, “I have to get that in metal”. My sketch book is like a field guide to the small details in nature that probably mostly go unnoticed.
Slowly these past couple of weeks I have been able to revisit a collection I started about a year ago influenced by those little moments with stones as the central element that guide the texture and color of the metal. I call these pieces “Stonescapes”.
I’ve noticed I really like working with stones that have natural colors in them that make me think of Central Oregon. Which of course can be so many things. We have all the elements here. Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Space.
Earth. To me is juniper trees, sagebrush, large snow covered mountains, rolling hills and buttes in dark blues and browns, and dirt….so much dirt.
Fire to me is the lava that shapes our landscape. It determines how our rivers flow, how our lakes are formed and created, and how the mountains and buttes define our skyline.
Water is a huge part of my life here in Central Oregon. Especially in the summer. We have some of the most amazing lakes in our Cascade Range, as well as a river running right through the middle of my hometown. The ecosystem that is created by these bodies of water is so important to our way of life in more ways than we know.
The Air in Central Oregon is crisp clear and fresh. I remember coming home from school when I lived in Savannah, GA, and stepping off the plane to take a deep breath of sage and juniper and feeling so much love and gratitude for this place. In the Winter its harsh and stings the lungs. In the summer its pure, fresh and dry.
Space is two things to me. It is what is around me in physical space. Which here is abundant and grand yet sparing and precious. It is also our night sky. It is clear dark and twinkling. It is a night camping on a lakeside beach looking out at an expanse of stars and complete darkness. It’s so comforting and mysterious all at once.