Where does inspiration come from?

As an artist, my ideas come from a lot of different places. Inspiration comes from the natural world and the things I see and hear. Sometimes my work is inspired by materials coming together on my bench. They also are handed to me in a neat package, in the form of a challenge.

Copper “shield” pendant with sterling silver rivets.

Copper “shield” pendant with sterling silver rivets.

My little piece of my world is rife with textures, colors and shapes. I can step out my home and see dappled light, deep green leaves, acorns and the weathered wood rails of the deck. During walks, I search for pick up objects that interest me, like dried pods and shiny stones.

Sometimes I hear a word that drives deep internet research (you might see a collection on knot theory from me at some time in the future).

And every day, I sketch shapes and patterns, designing pieces in my mind and on paper.

I won't share a photo of my bench, but trust me when I say it's a bit disorganized and messy. Unfinished projects sometimes live there for months. I might get inspired to complete an unfinished project there. Case in point, this copper and sterling silver "shield" pendant. It was on the corner of my desk for MONTHS. Every so often, I'd pick it up and look at it and place it down again. Recently, I picked it up and found the inspiration to finish it.

Challenge pieces, clockwise from top left: “Blue” (for “Blue” show), copper side of “Diatoms” (for Botanical show), bottle cap necklace, (for “Recycled”), and “Sting Rays” (for “Animal Kingdom” show).

Challenge pieces, clockwise from top left: “Blue” (for “Blue” show), copper side of “Diatoms” (for Botanical show), bottle cap necklace, (for “Recycled”), and “Sting Rays” (for “Animal Kingdom” show).

A couple of the rivets needed to be redone, and more added. I soldered on a bail on the back, then made a raw silk necklace for hanging. (It's available for sale -- $85 and it's yours!)

Alternatively, I might look at a stone or a bead rolling around on my bench and the muse will whisper in my ear what I need to make.

Themed challenges are a great way to think differently and build your skills. Yorktown Arts Foundation's On The Hill Gallery has a member show every year with a singular theme. Some of the past themes have been "Recycled," "Blue," "Animal Kingdom," and "Botanical." Here are some photos of pieces I made for these shows.

The theme of the next member show, which opens in May 2020, is "Water." It's time to find my inspiration....take a walk on the beach, stare at my bench and get out my notebook and pen.

Custom Work: Sterling Silver Chalice

With growing frequency, I have been asked to create custom jewelry pieces. Custom work requires a delicate balance. I want to create a piece that satisfies the client, and at the same time, satisfies my artistic aesthetic.

Top left is the sketch I sent. Below that is the pendant in progress. The photo at the right is the completed piece.

Top left is the sketch I sent. Below that is the pendant in progress. The photo at the right is the completed piece.

The client has seen my work, and trusts my skill and vision. If they didn’t, they wouldn't hire me. But their vision and mine (and my skill set) might not always line up exactly. For me, communication is key. I provide updates of work in progress (including photos) and try to manage their expectations.

Fortunately, my latest commission was a true equal partnership. It was a simple piece with clean lines -- my aesthetic -- and exactly what he wanted.

The commission came from an old friend I hadn't seen in person for over 30 years. Facebook brought us together a recently and he has seen photos I've shared on Facebook of my jewelry. He asked me to make a sterling silver pendant depicting a flaming chalice, the symbol the Unitarian Universalist Church, on a long simple sterling silver chain.

I looked online for a source image and sketched out a design, the chalice with the negative spaces pierced out. I photographed the design and sent it back and he approved. It needed to be completed, for a birthday present, by the end of the summer. I worked on it on and off since the commission, sent an in-progress photo (which he loved) and completed it at the end of July.

R., thanks again for the order. I hope the recipient is happily wearing her new pendant, and appreciates that it was made just for her.

If you are interested in a custom piece, please contact me.