Monday, 28 March 2011


New jewellery pieces to get a final polishing, labelling and packaging before they go into the
Brantford Arts Block gallery shop.
 Do I like beads because stones are beautiful in and of themselves and I'm fascinated by the colours, the science, history and cultural aspects, or because I like to make jewellery? I favour blue beads. Way back when I first starting buying turquoise, I found a website where the jewellery-maker uses/sells only blue beads. What a neat concept I thought, and it really focused me in my own direction. I have to find that site again.

As far as making jewellery, well... that's a hard one. In my whole life I've rarely bought jewellery let alone worn what I've bought, partially because it gets in my way and partially because I rarely see something I like that I can also afford: Champagne tastes on a beer budget, c'est moi. I've talked to several people in the past year or two who simply collect jewellery. One guy told me he had a wall in his house that was covered in jewellery he had collected on his travels. He took me on a journey around the world up his arm: "I bought that bracelet in a market in Morocco, bought that in England, bought that in India..."

What constantly amazes me is how each person who wears jewellery completely transforms its appearance to the point I pretty much don't recognise my own jewellery once someone else is wearing it. It truly is wearable sculpture, and that in the end is how I approach making jewellery. It's my goal that my work will be that compelling an object of desire for someone that it's not merely thought of as something to be bought and worn to match an outfit for a season and discarded, but something that will be kept and worn for life around which to acquire and shed the garments.

I'm slowly building my own collection of blue beads. Amazing the range and variety of blues there are out there, opaque, translucent, rough, smooth, high polish, matte -- and I mean naturally blue, not dyed or enhanced in some way. Of course, various other colours are needed in order to make the blue even more blue (same for any colour), but I've noticed I need more of those stones than blue ones. Funny how that works: great for all the bead merchants out there. Is this a conspiracy?

It's also weird how I've never able to draw or paint in colour, but through contemplating the way the colours and textures go together or not, I'm gaining insight into how I might move on to painting in colour. The art schools teach you to lay out an entire palette of colours in advance. I was always puzzled by this insistence, because how could I -- and why would I -- do that when I didn't know what colours I would need, let alone what I was going to paint? In my logic, it was quite simply backwards.

But when I see I need a particular colour or size, then comes the long and often frustrating search for that one perfect, necessary and complementary shape and colour, always getting side-tracked at this point because I'm roaming outside of my normal buying paths where I end up acquiring all kinds of must-have things I never knew existed, let alone had any intention of buying... and I've probably still not found that elusive perfect bead. Yep, it's definitely a conspiracy and, yep, that was probably not a sentence.

Although I have to say, now that I'm a little more experienced, having been making jewellery for only three years, I actually walked out of a big big show a couple of weeks ago with $60 in my pocket. Not that I saw nothing more I wanted or needed, just that it had become an all-or-nothing situation. I saw a lust-worthy string of lumpy, nuggety silver spacers for $120 wholesale, I saw a stunning string of turquoise for -- $100? Or was it $200? I can't remember now -- retail. At that point it didn't even matter. I couldn't afford it. Yet.

The Brantford Arts Block

One of the venues that carries my jewellery is the Brantford Arts Block in the heart of downtown -- where else? -- Brantford, Ontario. The BAB is an active, stimulating and fun place to peruse, listen, think, study, watch, think some more... yes, shop too! -- and most of all participate for all ages and all backgrounds.

I mentioned my drawing/painting background. I'm a figurative artist. I was blown away by the current show on at the BAB which I saw on Saturday. Check out the raw and harrowing paintings by R. Gary Miller, in his show Mush Hole Remembered, up until April 9, 2011. Words fail.

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