Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From past to present...a look back...and what's in the future

Just this past week I was searching disks for any photos of my seed bead jewelry, made from 1999-2001. My old computer with all of the photos crashed and burned....but I know I have some on disks somewhere. I had no luck finding them. And then, out of the blue, a collector posted a photo of this set, which I made in late 1999 or early 2000:

I love the style of seed bead and filigree work, made famous by great designers such as Miriam Haskell and Stanley Hagler. I started working with the style in 1999, at first with brooches, and then with necklaces. This was the first necklace and earring set I made using the seed beads and filigree.

I made less than 50 seed bead jewels. All are signed JAI with a signature tag applied on the back. So if you see that tag on a piece of this type of work, it was made by me.

I stopped working with the seed beads in 2001. I've tried a number of techniques since then, as evidenced by this blog and the archives. For a period of time I stopped making jewelry altogether, and spent a few years painting and exploring various other forms of artistic expression.

At the end of 2008, I returned to jewelry design full-time. I feel my explorations in the art world have influenced my newer works. I now find myself thinking of things I would normally think of when painting - specifically a lot of thoughts are centered around color and contrast.

At the end of 2008, I gave some serious thought to what direction I wanted to go with jewelry design. In order to create a recognizable style, I knew certain things would have to be constant in my work. I decided these three things would be constant in my work from now on out: gemstone chips, pearls, and wire. There may be other components added in from time to time, such as lampwork beads as shown in the Winter Berry set above. (available here)

And larger gemstones such as the 375 carat yellow quartz stone shown in the Profusion necklace, above and below. (available here)

I call my new type of work "clustering". As I work, I form a cluster of beads into a design, using wire as the transport medium to get the beads where I want them to go, and make them stay where I want them to stay. The finished pieces of jewelry remind me of life: life is a big cluster of a lot of tiny experiences, forming a total visual picture of our selves...who we are...what we believe we behave...and what we do. With each bead I place on the wire, I add more and more to the cluster, just like each experience...each moment...each memory...we have in life adds more to the story of who we are, and how our lives are shaped.

This is my life. It is a cluster of life experiences. My new pieces are designed to reflect a completed - yet still evolving - picture of life.

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