Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pondering my Future in PMC

My two favorite pieces from the class. I forgot to show the backside of that Rune Horse pendant, so there ya go. Also shown is the (unpatina-ed) clasp piece I couldn't include in my previous post. My only mistake with the clasp was making the loop a shade too small, so it's really difficult to get that hook through! DOH.

After every big trip, I lapse into a limbo state as I decompress and regain a quiet mind. But this isn't down time. It's perhaps the most important time in the studio in regards to the future. This is because the days following such an experience really are an intense period of cogitation as my subroutines mull over what I've learned and my conscious mind contemplates the new path I'll follow.

What's especially interesting to me about PMC is its jewelry emphasis, which means I have to learn a whole new design paradigm on top of learning how to use the material itself. As I mentioned in my previous post, I learned a lot from watching Ruth and the other students design their pieces. Most importantly, I learned just how confined my creativity had become. Coming from a "literal" background in realism, I found their "interpretive" aesthetic to be a fresh breeze. Indeed, many things they did with the exact same tools or patterns simply never occurred to me! I was amazed and fascinated by their work. I think I actually heard a door click open in my head.

So during this decompression, I've been surfing PMC artists online to study various works in order to identify what grabs me (and why) and even more importantly -- what doesn't (and why) -- in order to pin down my own jewelry aesthetic. And while I already know exactly how my voice is going to shape my jewelry, it always helps to study the work of others to gain clarity and to open the mind. So here are just some PMC artists I've studied so far who fall into the "grab me" category -- enjoy!

In this exercise, I've confirmed that my aesthetic prefers chunky, organic, relic-like, whimsical pieces that are unexpected and unusual in design. That it's more important to me that a piece be interesting, unique and arty rather than "mainstream."
In short: I like jewelry with an attitude and a point of view. In doing so, I've also confirmed I'm not drawn to "seen it," "sweet," "clutter," or "delicate." This clarity now allows me to forge ahead with my jewelry designs in greater confidence.

Aside from the aesthetic, though, it's also important to pinpoint exactly what it is I like about the medium. Luckily I already have a good parallel: I know what I love about clay -- it's ability to be spontaneous despite my best efforts otherwise. For example, during the process of making my tiles, serendipity infuses eccentricities
that make each one a true one of a kind, and so I literally never know what I'm going to get each time I open Big Al. While this maddened me in the past, I've since surrendered to The Will of Clay, and in doing so, found this aspect to be a rejuvenating aspect that balances out the hyper-control found in my realistic work.

So, what does this mean for PMC jewelry for me? It means that I interpret PMC as clay and not metal. My enjoyment is found when I allow it to be clay, and I enjoy the ironic juxtaposition between "metal" and "clay," things that are opposites in life. So I want to encourage that organic, chance-driven quality rather than pursue a machine-like precision. This has important repercussions.

Because just as importantly, I've been contemplating manageable production logistics. Time-consuming steps can become more of a burden than a boon, as well as drive up the price of the finished piece into prohibitive price-points. So after much thought, I think I have my logistics hammered out in my head that satisfy my artistic and production needs, and all I have to do is put them to the test.

"One thought fills immensity." ~ William Blake

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