Wednesday, September 20, 2017
My designs are often inspired by the surroundings in my studio, which I have filled with family ephemera, photos of people I've lost, objects that call a memory.
This snapshot inspired my first enameled "talking tree" ring. I discovered it in my grandmother's photo album. A man stands on a tree-lined dirt road; he must have been important to my grandmother, but I don't know who he was, or even his name. Studying the stranger, I thought of how this photo was held, gazed upon and remembered with feeling – fondness, or sadness, regret or joy.
Were they friends, or more? Where were they going? Was he about to leave for university? War? I studied the trees and the background. Was that his home? Where did this road lead? The meandering black branches against the washed-out sky captured my attention, and I found myself drawing them onto a piece of enamel. A favorite quote arrived in my mind: "Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heavens." The piece began to gel – I decide to set the enameled trees in a ring, with the quote etched onto the bezel.
I love to follow these notions and imagined stories until they lead me to a jewelry design. Now I look at the ring and think of how brief our time, and how our moments of connection with others – as captured in the snapshot – are the only thing that matters in the end. Though the loved young man – whoever he was – is now long gone, those reaching trees that observed this frozen moment are probably still there, speaking to the dim, Ohio sky.
Update: Click here to see a second piece that was inspired by the same photo.