I took these photos a few days ago.
Glorious autumn. Glowing months when the world is cold and aflame.
Every last nerve itches with the fantastic hunch that everything is alive, alive alive.
This autumn is flying, but so very intense. Days of billowing storm cloud with sun-dazzled trees in the foreground.
When I walk, the pine needles so slippery. The smell of pine;
When the wind whips through!
It is said that every good artist must have her obsession.
Mine, right here and now, is Druzy. Drusy. Druzies. Drusies. Specifically, natural colored druzies – The stones with ripe, berry hues and crisp, glacial heavenly blues – Unreal, ghostly grays – Rich rare emerald greens of endless grasslands – Deep night-sky true blacks with the gleam of stars – And all a-glimmer with every movement of your body – Completely natural colors and textures but beautiful almost beyond belief –
Druzies: Natural minerals that – over aeons – form sparkling beds of even crystals like sugar-coated gemstones.
Each stone has its strong and unmistakable personality. Each tells me what to make with it, of it, around it, for it. Tiny landscapes, they are to me the natural world concentrated into the miniature realm of the jeweler and the jewel; the wearable and symbolic object; the beautifully deliberate together with wilderness incarnate.
Druzies fulfill my need for contrast in my work – Something willed, something wild. Something bright, something dark. Something polished, something very rough, ancient and barbaric.
Womankind [and mankind’s] age-old fascination with gems and precious stones – I have always skirted the edges of it, preferring the clean forms and direct workings of metal itself – but druzies have seduced me with their brilliant + color-rich character.
Watch with me. Let’s see what happens.
Smoke Ring : Hand-Sculpted Ring with Sterling Silver, Chalcedony Druzy, White Sapphire. US size 6.5-7. One of a Kind.
It had been raining that day from morning to night – the kind of soft, monotonous, misty rain that often falls at that time of year, washing away bit by bit the memories of summer burned into the earth. Coursing down the gutters, all those memories flowed into the sewers and rivers, to be carried to the deep, dark ocean.
– Haruki Murakami, The Elephant Vanishes
Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right.
It lands left.
I ride after a deer and find myself
chased by a hog.
I plot to get what I want
and end up in prison.
I dig pits to trap others
and fall in.
I should be suspicious
of what I want.
I am finally getting the hang of this jewelry photography thing.
I used to think
a) It’s too difficult
b) It’s too time-consuming
c) I’m bad at it
d) I don’t like it
e) It doesn’t like me
f) I’d much rather be doing something – ANYTHING – else
g) Please someone – ANYONE – help – and take this responsibility out of my hands!
I now think
a) It’s getting easier
b) It just takes time
c) I’m decent at it
d) I’m enjoying it
e) The result are improving [concurrently with my attitutude; fancy that!]
f) Photography is its own art
g) It’s time to step up and own this part of the process. Taking good photographs is an important aspect of presenting my work to the public both clearly and stylishly – as I’d like it to be presented. It’s time to take responsibility.
Of course, a good setup, an open mind and an endless well of patience for myriad miniscule adjustments and trial-and-error shots are also KEY.
Mostly, it’s about attitude.
My heart rejoices
In the shadows of icicles
using my heart as bait.
It is just before dawn,
the slightest hint of
pink bleeds into the
night sky. I use my
pen knife to cut the
hole in my chest,
reaching behind the
pocket of my shirt.
What a tough muscle
to pull the hook through.
The heart is astonished
to be in this other world
and trembles and shivers like
a moth discovered in daylight.
I try to calm it by stroking it
by telling it that it will all be
ok, but what do I know.
The breeze picks up and chills the cavern
in my chest. It feels good to
be empty at last. I cast my heart
across the water. I cast it again
and again. Sometimes it floats on
the surface, other times it sinks
below. Something will strike at it
that I can’t see. I pray
I am using the right bait.
The tough outer layers
soften in the water. The heart grows
smaller, more pliant.
It has become a beautiful
blue jewel. I begin
not to recognize it.
Was this me?
It waits. I wait.
The boat rocks
slightly in the breeze
lifted and lowered
by the tide.
– Stuart Kestenbaum, House of Thanksgiving
I have drunk fully of the moment, I have never repented, and I have never desired something else.
Last night fusing gold to silver at my bench I had the most delicious feeling of being in kindergarten or first grade.
Keum-bo can be detailed, almost tedious work. And yet it isn’t quite repetitive; to reach every little nook, corner and hidden crevice of a tiny textural landscape it takes a certain sensitivity and focus – not pressing too hard, wrists loose and tools held lightly, like a violin bow.
My contact lenses dry out as I hover intently above my kiln; I am careful not to burn myself as I tweezer miniscule objects to and fro. I trace approximate shapes and trim them with fanatical care via miniature scissors; I quench my burnishers often to keep them from sticking to the hot metal and breathe subtly so that I don’t blow the fantastically fragile gold foil into kingdom come. Sometimes, I get impatient.
Mostly, though, it is peaceful, solitary, meditative work. I turn off the music; anything is distracting in this raw late night space. Delicate, specific work; like a surgeon’s or a child’s.
And it reminds me suddenly of that beautiful time I had almost forgotten – a lost long-ago world of concentration and bliss in the coloring of a shape; cutting a twist, a curve and a brutal angle with plastic-handled scissors to join all the other twists and curves; submerging completely into the rich waters of a single, intense pursuit as simple and as and pure as the marking of a line – then another, then another line.
It’s a funny, endearing feeling; to re-remember these beginnings, these sources. I feel completely a child-me as I cut, and place, and burnish, loving the waiting, loving the silence, loving the sweet melting of gold into silver.