Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pearl Stories, No. 4

Siri Kvalfoss from Tyssedal, Norway sent pearls to me in late April, mentioning in her hand-written note she had learned I was looking for pearls on April 27; the letter was dated April 28 and I appreciated her quick response. Her 15 faux pearls were hand-sewn to a piece of white linen alongside a wonderful geometric embroidery also in white. In addition to the individual teal stitches holding each pearl in place, she had also stitched a delicate 1/2" x 1" section, creating a free-form, yet thoughtful composition. I learned later that she had also done the white embroidery, Hardanger-embroiderya traditional part of the national costume of her district, Hardanger, and taught to her by her grandmother. The words that accompanied this small artwork stated the pearls were "totally fake, but nice anyway," which made me smile. Siri also mentioned she felt compelled to sew them to the linen. The excitement of her text, punctuated with exclamation points, and the lovely presentation of her contribution seemed so heartfelt to me... and here is this person in Norway whom I have never met, connected to me by a common interest in metalsmithing, and she had taken the time to not only send me pearls but to go even further and send them sewn in this manner. I was thrilled to receive her contribution and even more excited to be connected to her more through the Pearl Piece.

Read the other Pearl Stories herehere and here.

Thanks for reading. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pearl Stories, No. 3

Virginia Hungate-Hawk sent me three faux pearl necklaces that she found amongst "all kinds of things one keeps but does not move away with." Her metalsmith mom had just turned her childhood room into a studio and Virginia had to sort through things she had left behind when she moved away years ago, things like ticket stubs and old jewelry. The change seemed bittersweet for Virginia. As she wrote in the note she included with her contribution, she had encouraged her mom to make the change, but it had caused her to realize one "never can really go home." This got me thinking about all the times I moved and all the things I left behind, got rid of, gave away, held on to, or put into storage. Objects mark time. They remind us of people and places and our attachment is personal and often rooted in emotion. I have a huge collection of jewelry and there are many, many pieces I haven't worn in years, but I choose to keep because they remind me of something or someone. As I thought about my jewelry, I remembered my own faux pearls including a bracelet I wore at my prom when I was 16. I know exactly where it is in my childhood home and I think I'll have my mom send it to me here in San Francisco. It needs to be a part of this piece. Virginia said she can't remember details of the necklaces she sent, but perhaps she wore one of the strands to her prom, too.

Read the other stories here and here.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ten More Days

Sea and Land, Land and Sky

Parallel Constellations will be on view at Crown Nine for ten more days. It's been great to have the work there because it's among some pretty incredible handmade jewelry by artists from around the U.S. and it's being seen by a different audience every day. I know a few pieces have sold, too, which is very exciting of course! If you live in Oakland, or the Bay Area, I do hope you'll stop by, see the show, and say hi to the wonderful women who work there.

In Tandem

Maps: Magnetic, a collaborative piece with Raissa Bump

Crown Nine is open from 10-6 Monday-Friday and 12-4 on Saturday. It is located at 515 9th Street in Oakland, CA.

Here's a link to Crown Nine's blog and a great post about the show.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Necklace No. 12, For My Dad

Necklace No. 12 from Collected Memories: 1974-Present

My dad's birthday is today. He would have been 70. This is a necklace I made about him and a pair of earrings he gave me when I was 17. Each color represents a stage of his life: childhood, his life with my mom, my brother, and I, and his life with Alzheimer's. The shape of the folded fabric pieces represents the shape of the earrings. My father had been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I made it and this knowledge weighed heavily upon me. I could not help but consider how he was losing his memory as I was trying to recreate mine through my work. This necklace represents a key moment for me and my understanding of my use of memory.

In honor of my dad's birthday I will take a long walk along the ocean, a place he loved. I will also eat some cake.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pearl Stories, No. 2

I have known Shava Lawson for years. We met in Seattle in 1999 and went to school together at the University of Washington. We were both in the BFA metals and jewelry program and have been friends ever since. Shava's package was the 17th one that I opened back in March and I remember being really happy to see her name in the return address. I opened the top crease of the yellow envelope with the blade of my scissors and carefully pulled out the matching card. Inside the card was a string of pearls, traditionally knotted and missing a clasp, draped from side to side. I lifted them to read the note and learned they had belonged to her grandmother, May, who was also an artist. Shava wrote that she had been wanting to do something with the strand for "quite some time" but decided I should have it because my pearl piece "feels so right." She also told me how excited she was to send them all the way across the country to "land in [my] hands." I was just stunned and I couldn't believe what I was holding: such a precious gift, now given twice.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

California as an Island

I have a thing for islands. I like reading about them and studying them. I make work about them and see myself as one. There is one in particular that I long to be on, all the time. I also love maps and, again, I like reading about them and studying them. I've been paying close attention to maps of California and San Francisco and recently found a resource of very old maps of California as an island. I learned after visiting The Glen McLaughlin Map Collection, a collection of maps depicting California as an island, that California was imagined this way and even after the truth was discovered it took years for "the island to attach itself back onto North America on maps." Further, I find this statement fascinating:

"the maps lagged behind reality and became a cartographic phenomenon that defied the science of mapping." 

Lagging behind reality and defining science give me pause... I was intrigued to learn about this version of California and see my new home state in a totally different way. I think I was comforted finding these images, too, because I like islands so much.

map of Iceland, my favorite island

Thanks for reading.