In the last nine months my father passed away, I chose a graduate program, and I moved across the country. More changes are on the horizon, too, ones I know are coming and others so intangible it's nearly impossible to even imagine them. Yesterday another big change happened: I started my graduate program, and a new way of being an artist and a new way of living. I had an inspiring talk with my mentor, Lori Talcott, recently and she told me I have to "submit" to school, meaning I must put aside most everything else and devote myself to my studies. I've been thinking a lot about this word "submit" and what it means to me. Then I found a quote by Henry Miller that defines it in a really beautiful way and articulates how I feel:
"True strength lies in submission which permits one to dedicate his life, through devotion, to something beyond himself."
So I submit to school and to my work in a way I have not done before, and in doing so, a few more things are forced to change:
my new studio at California College of the Arts
My Sienna Patti Contemporary solo exhibition has been postponed. Sienna and I decided to put the show on hold until I'm done with school. It's just not the right time. What about the Pearl Piece you may wonder? I will continue to work on it (and accept contributions), and when it's done, it will go out into the world. I've said "no" to a few other exhibitions and projects recently, too, and my Etsy shop is now closed.
I started working at Velvet da Vincione day a week. It's great to work alongside Mike Holmes and will be a great way to stay current in the world of art jewelry while providing me with some structure and regular income.
And, finally, I'm going to take a long break from blogging and other social media that's focused on my work. These things, although I truly enjoy them, take a tremendous amount of time and I know I will need all the time I can get in the coming weeks and months. My work is going to change a lot over the next two years, too, and I think I need to keep things to myself, for the most part, as I move through school. Starting with this entry, I'm going to try a new approach and post only once a month, and I will no longer post here on Blogger. I'm moving over to Tumblrwhere you will find me at"I live here now." I will continue to actively post on Instagram and will Tweet occasionally, too.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for being a wonderful audience... please stay with me.
I received my tiniest contribution just after moving to California in June. It was from Natalia Araya in Valencia, Spain and inside the mailer addressed in sweeping handwriting was a small, oval-shaped trinket box. The box, with its embossed leaf-pattern texture, had a mosaic of pink, yellow, and blue flowers on its hinged lid. I carefully opened the box to find a folded parcel, sealed with gold tape. I carefully opened this little bundle, too, and discovered five loops of thread-like black wire, each strung with seed pearls. I immediately wondered what the story was and how old they were.
I sent an email to Natalia to say thank you and let her know the pearls had arrived, as I always do with my contributors. I also asked her if the the pearls were old and, later that day, she replied with a detailed story about how she acquired them. She told me when she first moved to Spain, she bought some tools from a 78-year-old jeweler named Don Juan, "a retired man who lived in the middle of nowhere yet specialized in Victorian jewelry repair." She said they became friends and had many great conversations. One day he gave her a box full of old gems and pearls, including the ones she had sent to me. She asked him about the pearls and he explained they had been a part of something he had repaired once and the wire they were on was original. Natalia went on to say, "I treasure them, they are just so little and such a special gift, I am glad to give them to go to a big project, they have been around [and] I feel it's a good way to finish their story..." In another email, she sent me some photos of her with Don Juan, one from the day she bought the tools and another from after they had become friends. In this picture, the two are out for a walk one weekend during a visit with his family at their country house.
I like to think about the events that lead up to these emails and that will also, eventually, lead to me adding the pearls to the Pearl Piece. What an interesting series and wonderful connection between the three of us and then to all the other people who sent pearls as well. I like that these tiny pearls were once a part of something and are now finding purpose again, much like the pearl I described a few weeks ago. And, once again, I find myself in awe of the possibilities of human connection.
"Island of 14,264 Days is an imaginary island that represents my life. It presents my experiences as an independent landmass seen at once in a far away and a close-up view. It is also a self-portrait, an abstract interpretation of my physical form and persona. I made this piece to spend deliberate time processing and making sense of my experiences, both wonderful and troubling. I felt it necessary to slow down and consider each moment individually and collectively, and embroidery was the perfect way to do this; it is an innately slow and methodical technique. The moments captured in the countless knots comprise the number of days I had lived when I completed the piece, as the island itself established a place of existence and home for me."
This week is the final week for my Etsy sale and then at the end of the day on Sunday, August 30, I will close the shop indefinitely. Every item listed is basically the last one I have and the piece in the picture is the piece you will receive. Your order will ship, most likely, the day after I get it. I added an "Under 50" section where you will find a number of nice things, too... I do hope you will visit the shop in the coming days and feel free to email me if you have any questions.
My Etsy sale is still underway for the weekend and for about ten more days. It's been great so far and, as I've said before, this is kind of it... come the end of the day August 30, the shop will close. I do hope you will visit my shop and check out my limited but lovely selection. Then get a gift for someone special for now, or later, or maybe get yourself a little something. Your purchases will help me clear out my remaining stock and support me in my pursuit of graduate studies here in San Francisco. Here are a few of my current favorites:
Kathleen Edwards Hayslett sent her contribution to me in late April. Inside the mailer was a short, handwritten note and a single pearl earring tucked inside a small fabric pouch with a drawstring closure. I read the note first, as I always do, and then opened the little bag to see its contents. Kathleen wrote she had been given a pair of pearl earrings from her dad when she was in her 30s but had lost one of them... and was now passing it on to me for my piece in memory of both of our fathers. This short but poignant message and the simple pearl earring brought me to tears. This kind of connection, this kind of shared experience, is why I make my work and why I wanted to make the Pearl Piece. My intention for this sculpture was reinforced and magnified with Kathleen's simple and layered addition.