Ellington Necklace and Early Masking Tape Sketch

The Beginnings of Things


For me the process of creating new jewelry designs is a matter of bringing order to chaos and essentially having the ability to create from the endless possibilities provided by that chaos. I see little in the blank pristine page of a sketchbook and my sketches are often reserved for the backs of old envelopes or within the margins of a Sudoku book. Countless brown UPS envelopes have given way to stunning works of art, though few could imagine the outcome had they seen the mess of overlapping scribbles cluttering the paper. These crude doodles are always drawn in pen and are typically scattered erratically about a page, each providing some visual information that paves the way for other ideas both good and bad.

However drawing has always presented many challenges to me. My perception and artistic abilities are rooted in a three dimensional perspective. It is typically simpler for me to craft something with a physical form than try to imagine and convey on paper how that shape might appear when flattened.   While some jewelry designs are flat in nature, I have many that present a complete 3D rendition of my subject.  I might begin thinking on paper, but these ideas frequently relinquish themselves to a roll of masking tape and random materials that can be used to imitate the budding notions in my mind. The forms are almost comical in their boorish structure, but they serve as critical building blocks for what is to come.

Sketches for jewelry designs
Sketches on the back of an old envelope developing my latest equestrian necklace.

Without question, I am a perfectionist. I will carve and recarve and recarve again until a wax model is correct and to my liking. The evolution of a project is quite tedious and demanding of countless hours. However the initial stages lack all the grace presented in the finished product. I believe this is inherent in the artistic process itself. My personal approach does involve “planning” stages that may be quite a bit less refined than those of other individuals. I’m sure there are many who enjoy keeping a neat clean book of well-drawn designs. Perhaps the unkempt nature of my technique would prove distracting to this personality type. However I think the nature of creating lies in experimentation and a willingness to explore concepts and build upon them. Concepts upon concepts with many rather unrefined steps along the way are, for me, the key to artistic success.

I have seen some who fear mistakes even to the point of creative paralysis. Mistakes are naturally part of the experience, a frustrating and often discouraging aspect of it, but necessary nonetheless. Several of my more complex and challenging pieces have been called strings of profanities that would make a trucker blush upon encountering near fatal design problems. I say this with humor but of course, at the time, these problems are quite distressing. I am often called patient over the work I do, creating designs that take a hundred hours of model work, recarving things again and again. Rather, I would consider myself stubborn, stubborn with a healthy understanding of the process.

In all creative mediums I believe the freedom to explore is the most basic and fundamental element of the process. This freedom can only be granted from within with a humble acceptance of both the highs and lows of creativity. Even bad ideas are can be viewed as stepping-stones leading the way to a masterpiece.

A glimpse of whats to come! An eventing inspired necklace well underway, to be completed and released mid July.

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