At the start of this year I decided I wanted to expand my creative reach and work on pieces that go a little (well, maybe a lot) deeper, both at the bench with the silver, and also creatively, working with inspiration that's more personal.
As many of you know, I am deeply inspired by music, particularly music that involves improvisation, such as jazz. The work of Pat Metheny really inspires visuals—the rhythm, the color from the mood the music taps into, the melodic lines from the guitar, the overall message in the song, etc. It's incredibly challenging to then take all of that visual inspiration and distill it into a necklace with all of the engineering that goes into art that sits on the body. This was probably my most ambitious piece to date.
I had been thinking about making this piece for at least the last 12 months but given the day-to-day demands of the jewelry business, it was hard to find the time to devote to it, until last month. My local art community invited its members to exhibit so I took the opportunity to give myself a deadline and produce this piece. It was a 3- to 4-week detour, inspired by Pat Metheny's tune, Last Train Home.
In the past year I had been collecting ideas for this piece, sketching, downloading images of train bridges, tracks, landscape scenery, etc. One of my biggest challenges as an artist is to not to be too literal. I wanted use the inspiration that the Metheny tune gave me to create the piece, with the hundreds of little decisions that go into making a piece like this one, but not to try to spell out the tune. I wrestled with every part of this project because the problems I encountered in the making of this piece hadn't been encountered before. I made two "bridges" and I tried translucent clay to talk more abstractly about the landscape, but ultimately tore it out and tried something different, deciding to go more decorative with train colors, giving the tracks more center stage. This piece stretched me in all sorts of ways.
At the end of the day, it's just one more example of a quote I recently read: Art is a process, not a product.
Here's just a quick look at the sketches...