I love this app called Paper 53 from fiftythree.com
I usually sketch jewelry ideas with a regular pencil and paper in a sketchbook. That can be bulky when I'm going someplace. I always take my iPad though, so I decided to try a sketching app.
I love this app called Paper 53 from fiftythree.com
"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." - Pablo Picasso
I've always loved this quote from Picasso. Art is often going back to the beginning. I'm drawn to the art that calls at a primal level. Something that stirs the memory of a story that was told before us - a story of the ancients.
This year of 2014 I'm giving myself permission to make things without the creation being shown, tweeted, blogged or sold.
My creative business is a big part of my life. Since it's so public on social media, it's hard for me to make things without feeling I need to take pictures, tweet it, and share each step of the way.
Sometimes, I just need to have fun, without a camera. Fun for me is creating, even in mediums, like fiber and paint, that I'm not very talented with.
Teach Your Parents Well
I learned this lesson from my sons, two creative and talented guys. They practice everyday, solely for the love of the music and art. Over this winter break, as I see them and hear them practicing so hard, I realize I have so much to learn from them.
So, I've gone back to playing with art collages, which I haven't done in a few years. I'm also learning to crochet. I'm even thinking of pulling beads out of storage and making a freeform peyote necklace, another thing I haven't done in years. I have no expectations for the creations. Yet, my creative mind is getting so excited about this, that I am filling up my sketchbook with ideas for future metal jewelry designs.
"The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail."
I have faith, from past experiences, that whatever good lessons I learn from working in other mediums will show in my metal jewelry work eventually. For now, I'm just enjoying the process of creating in different materials.
Isn't that what winter is for? I hope you can also enjoy being inside and be a child again with your art.
My kids sometimes laugh at me, that I have a poster of Bob Dylan hanging in my studio. What can I say, I am an old hippie. I continue to find inspiration in his lyrics and life. Here are 5 sources of inspiration.
"Don't Follow Leaders..."
If something I make happens to be trending, that's cool. But I don't run after what's in style. I feel there are plenty of other jewelers and jewelry makers who are happy to do that. So, there's no need for me to follow. My jewelry isn't about fashion, anyway. I try hard to make jewelry that matters - to me and to you. A memory, a story, a milestone, a mystery - they don't follow leaders, but they are what I try to include in my creations. They are what matter to me.
"When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose."
It can be liberating and an opportunity when my items aren't selling or situations change for the worse. This is when I can make big changes to my style, venue or focus. I did this in 2009, when the economy collapsed. Instead of struggling for little sales, I went to a jeweler's technical school full time and learned the trade from experts. It was one of the best things I ever did, but I never would have had the time if sales were strong. Currently, I'm in the process of making my own website a true representation of my work. Although I've been "working on my website" for years, it was the changes in policy and focus by management on the Etsy site that pushed me to stop relying on Etsy (a venue out of my control) and use my own site to sell jewelry.
"Just keep on keeping on, down the avenue..."
Some people call it The Never Ending Tour. Dylan's done a hundred tour dates a year, for the last 30 years. Plus, he has recorded 35 albums in 50 years. That is an example of consistency. My goal is to be consistent and just keep on keeping on. As I move along on the journey, the inspirations and creations come to meet me.
"May you stay, forever young.."
Young is an attitude, a way of approaching the world and one's art. It's curiosity and enthusiasm. It's exploring new techniques. This is really all I want for life. That's a wonderful blessing to wish on someone. So, let's wish it on each other.
May you (and I) stay forever young!
Are there song lyrics or a certain celebrity that inspire you? Let me know in the comments.
My local ferry, Seastreak, has been running a cruise to Bear Mountain, NY. I remember the local tv commercials in the 1960s, advertising a similar cruise from NYC. I think Bob Dylan must have seen those commercials too. He basically did a Yelp review in the folksinging form and style of Woody Guthrie, way back then.
So, thanks to Dylan's review, we decided maybe we should drive instead. I do think the boat ride is a better way to go, if you go for the Octoberfest, because you don't want to be driving afterwards. It was a bit wild when we got there. At noon there were crowds in the beer garden, already chugging and cheering. (You can also get a glass of wine, but it does not flow as freely.) We had some Octoberfest food and drink. The park is really beautiful, but full of people. After hiking a bit, we got in the car to explore the area.
An unexpected delight, we found Manitoga, the home and design center of Russel Wright. His home, called Dragon Rock, is incredible. Look how it is nestled in the rock and trees. As you approach it from the forest, it slowly dawns on you that there is a building. The stepping stone bridge is fabulous. Aww...live there and you can be inspired to define the mid-Century Modern style!
Just down the road, we found Boscobel house and gardens. The views are breathtaking, reminding me of 18th century folk painting scenes. I especially loved the herb garden.
Next post, I'll share the contemporary metal sculpture that I found on the grounds of Boscobel. As a metalsmith, it fascinated me.
Have you ever been to the Bear Mountain and Hudson River Valley region? There are many more interesting places to visit there. I'd like to explore the area some more. Let me know your favorite spots.
Here in New Jersey, the colors of Fall are just beginning. Yesterday was warm and I went for a walk on Sandy Hook beach. I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures.
The Fall never fails to inspire my creativity. There's something in the colors and textures that remind me of Van Gogh's best work, the swirls of light and thick layers of short, mad brush strokes.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Come back tomorrow and I will show you something else I found.
Someone asked me when I first realized I was an artist. I think it started when I realized I have an artist eye. Like some people can hear music and know if the key is off, I can look at a painting and know if it’s working. I’m not bragging. I worked hard to be able to see this way. I honed this skill when I was making my living selling art and antiques in NYC. Since I didn’t have a lot of capital, I had to buy the best art for the lowest price. This meant mostly, buying unknowns and unsigned works. Many dealers rely on the artist signature. They look it up to see the value of the artist’s previous sold works. If the artist is not listed, or there is no signature, they pass on the work.
I couldn’t afford to do that. I had to buy the work based solely on itself. Not the history, not the name, just the work before me. But only, of course, if it appealed to me. If it was looked “right”.
I would see a painting at an auction and know it was right. I was always surprised when there was light bidding – sometimes no bidding at all against me. I remember once the auctioneer even making a joke about the painting. No one would dare bid on it then, except me. I knew it was good. I sold it a few days later for 10x what I paid.
This happened so often that I finally realized, some people see it and some people don’t.
That’s the way it is with all art. Good paintings aren’t made to match the sofa. And art jewelry isn’t made to match the dress. Some people can see that and some people just don’t.
That’s just the way it is. We all see the world a little different. Isn’t that a great thing? I think it is a wonderful thing!
Mary Lu Wason
is a studio jeweler. Here she shares the inspirations, discoveries and process of creating her art jewelry collections.