Imagined Memories

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 particular snapshot inspired my first enameled "talking tree" ring. 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. 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.

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Sometimes I pause to capture moments of creative flow in my studio and share them on Instagram. Here's a little video clip if you want to see the moment this piece began to gel.