This is from an email I sent this morning to my buddy Judy in Vancouver:
I spent an hour this morning downloading jewellery pictures off the Internet to use as inspiration. I used to print them out, spent hours sorting them and putting them into plastic protectors, and it cost me hundreds of dollars in ink -- and I never looked at them, just put them all in a binder and closed the cover. Now I've made desktop folders so they're all thematically together -- lapis, turquoise, African, Tibetan -- plus photos of flea and indigenous market displays from around the world, costumes, general photographs, stuff like that.
What I do with these folders is I scan the images in the whole folder to get an impression of some colour combination and proportion. Then I use that inspiration when I go off to the bead stores, or I dig out some beads in the same colours I already have and fiddle with them. Mostly what happens is I end up off on a completely different tangent, so I don't feel guilty about "copying" someone else's work (nor can I be accused of it. I mean, good grief, we all buy beads ultimately from the same few places, and look at the endless variety of designs we end up with).
|Pure copper rounds, Bali daisy spacers, 3mm lapis lazuli heishi,
hammered argentium sterling clasps and earwires
I've also got into the habit now of NOT FINISHING A PIECE before I photograph it. When I photograph it, or hold the piece up against me in a mirror, I can see immediately where there are holes, where some combination isn't working, where it needs something else. I've had to take apart so many things, ending up tossing a dollar's worth of silver crimp beads, which isn't a lot but do it 20 times before you get the brilliant flash of "Duh..." above.
I have a zillion ideas for coffee table books/paintings I'd like to do in the next ten years. And taking photos of markets is a big one. I think they're going to disappear within another generation. -- in fact I know they are already disappearing in many places, being replaced by mass marketed dollar store crap -- and I mean the markets where the vendors themselves have made the items themselves, grown or collected them.
All you have to do is look at Queen Street West in Toronto. An area that is so beautiful and cool, and what happens? The whitewashers move in, followed by the big corporate stores with clothes made in third world sweatshops and plastic cookie cutter "restaurants" (I mean, c'mon -- KFC and its ilk is not food, it's a heart attack, stroke and diabetes, all shmushed together on a bun), they knock down the old buildings so full of character, and yes, rotten plumbing, creepy crawlies, a century-plus worth of dirt and grime, and what do we end up with? Nothing but a goddamned strip mall that looks like everywhere else, but, "Oooooh, I'm living in the Fashion District." What Fashion District? The Fashion District is long gone, relocated to a strip mall up north on Dufferin somewhere in suburban hell.
Well, that's my rant for today.
I need to start travelling again before I'm completely permaparked. Wanna come with?