Thursday, August 6, 2015

It's Been 10 Years, Part 4

2005, going full-time

I'm fortunate to have had many wonderful and varied experiences over the past ten years. My work has taken me around the U.S. and abroad and allowed me to meet incredible people along the way. While looking back, I challenged myself to choose a favorite moment from each year:

2005, going full-time

I moved to Portland, OR in 2005 and after "doing the math," I realized I could take the big leap into full-time studio work. As I said here on the blog back in May, it was an exciting, frightening, and necessary decision, and I have never thought twice about it.

2006, peak of production

In 2006 I was making a ton of production jewelry, selling it in shops around the U.S. and a few places abroad. I had seven collections then and was selling in about 25 places. Production jewelry allowed me to make work every day which remains one of the most important things to me. 

2007, assisting Raissa Bump at Penland

I assisted Raissa Bump during a Penland concentration in 2007. We didn't know each other but hit it off quickly and went on to have many excellent conversations. At one point early on, I told her I was feeling restless with my work. Raissa encouraged me to make art jewelry and helped me find a place to begin. She suggested that I simply look at what I was already making and respond to it. So I examined my production work, focused on the circle, and tried a gestural approach to construction and composition. The result was my Line Drawings series and an important change in direction.

2008, words of advice from my mom 

I was invited to present at the Professional Development Seminar at the Society of North American Goldsmiths Conference in Savannah, GA in 2008. I spent months preparing my talk and felt excited to have a chance to share my experience and help others in the field. About a week before the conference I became overwhelmed with stressed and I panicked. I called my mom and, as I paced in the hallway of my apartment, she gave me some truly sound advice. She asked me if I was prepared and I said yes. Then she said something like, "Amy, as long as you are prepared, you will be fine." My talk went really well and keeping my mom's words close helped me remain calm. I continue to carry those words with me and remind myself of them often. (This photo is a favorite of mine from a trip we took to Paris.) 

2009, Penland residency

I became a resident artist at Penland in January of 2009 and the following three years were huge for me. I had time to question, experiment, and learn, and my work grew and grew. I accomplished everything I wanted to and so much more. I found my aesthetic and began to discover the roots of my ideas. I started working with memory as well, the foundation of everything I have made since. I will always be grateful for that singular experience and Penland will always be one of my homes. 

2010, class with Helen Carnac

My second summer as a resident at Penland in 2010 I took an enameling class with Helen Carnac. I loved learning to enamel and spent my time just trying things and making samples. It was wonderful! But, more importantly, I began to identify key parts of my process. Helen introduced me to the power of walking and observing and I also started to recognize collecting and arranging in a serious way. (The picture above was taken while on a walk with Helen.) 

2011, Metalsmith Magazine and Velvet da Vinci solo show

2011 was a big year for me. My work was selected for Metalsmith's Exhibition in Print and was featured on the cover of the magazine and I had my first solo show at Velvet da Vinci. These two things were dreams come true. 

2012, traveling alone to Belgium

After my Penland residency ended in 2012, I wanted to go out and be a stranger in a strange land and I got the opportunity to have a solo show in Antwerp, Belgium. This marked my first solo traveling experience, too, and every bit of it was amazing. Traveling made me feel like my best self. I had to use every bit of me to find my way around and experience everything. I saw so many beautiful things and made good friends in my gallerist and her family. It was an honor to be able to travel to foreign country and make my work. I also realized how special it is to see things for the first time and discovered just how much I love seeing new things alone.

2013, Iceland

The two months I spent in Iceland is my most special time in the last ten years and I still have trouble finding the right words to describe exactly why. The phrase I often repeat is "this place gives me room," and it really does. It changed me and my work and I imagine the things I learned there in May and June will continue to affect me for years to come. 

2014, making I Live Here Now

The work I made for my most recent solo show at Four in Gothenburg, Sweden is my most personal work, and I believe my strongest work so far. This is the body of work in which I began to deliberately consider and present my concepts in other forms including 2D works, small installations and sculptures, and arrangements. I also very carefully chose metal and non-metal materials, thoughtfully using the material that best suited the idea. In making this work, I also realized I had the the power to find answers to my questions by making things and I knew when I began that I would most likely find what I was looking for when I was done. Those 13 pieces and their multiple parts defined what home means to me. 

2015, teaching process for three days at Pratt

As I wrote yesterday, process is very important to me. I have taught lots of short process workshops but finally got to teach for three full days at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle, WA. I loved being able to present a variety of exercises to my students and have time to really get into things with them. I watched my students work really hard and at the end of the class each person had made some important discoveries. 

Thanks for reading. 

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