Just as much thought as I give to what inspires me, I also consider what has influenced me. Influence and Inspiration may be thought of as the same thing however I consider influence to be a mainstay whereas inspiration changes.
So here goes, what has influenced my style and jewelry.
Number #1 goes to my mother. When I was younger, maybe 12/13 years old…and embarrassingly enough to this day, I would take out all her jewelry and play, putting it on and asking her where she got it and when I could have it. She’d say ‘when you’re older’ which at that time seemed forever! But now, she gives me her jewelry on my birthday or Christmas…or when she’s feeling generous. My father was in the Army and we traveled and lived in Central and South America and when I was just a baby we lived in Japan. She has a treasure-trove of international pieces. Her jewelry was a lesson in historical craftsmanship and styles that spanned the globe. They taught me that color, material and style can be interpreted in so many beautiful ways.
#2 – My beliefs and spiritual inclinations. Just before I graduated from college I began to explore various religions; I was at a place where I wanted more than the usual church/bible experience nor did it resonate with me (Catholicism). So I began reading what really fascinated me, Norse and Celtic mythology. I know, it may sound hoaky, but in general mythologies always intrigued me. The stories of Gods and Goddesses rising up (or descending) from the earth mingling with humans, shape-shifting and the symbolism of governance of land with higher principles and ideals. Of course the same can be said of Christianity but Celtic culture and beliefs just made more sense.
Where am I going with this? What I create with my hands and the images that come into my mind are based on my own beliefs and fascination with the Celts. In addition to their innovation and spiritual representations. Bronze, gold and copper chased bowls, torcs and headpieces are amazing outlining a myth.
#3 – Other artists and mentors. Lately, I’ve been discovering some amazing work and ridiculously innovative ideas that has spurred me to think outside of the box, to consider ALL materials, functions and methods. One recent artist that has me baffled and curious is Lisa Jeun, she uses fake nails, FAKE NAILS to make incredible brooches. I love it how she mixes them with enameled steel and silk floss. My jaw dropped gazing at her pieces. That is one criteria I aim for in most of my pieces, a mix of elements, leather, metal, shells – whatever just as long as it’s all mixed up.
As for mentors, I’ve gained several over the past 10 years. In the jewelry world, it’s difficult to find one especially because they’re all busy just trying to get their business going. However, the wisdom and knowledge they’ve dispensed to me is worth the time. Abby Goldblatt my enameling teacher has had a big influence on me, she’s one of those great teachers that knows just when to offer advice but also when to listen and let me run wild with an idea. Just when I feel frustrated and want to throw a piece across the room she offers options and ideas to turn something shitty into a gem!
Thank you so much for reading!