29 July 2010

Having New Eyes

"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
~ Marcel Proust


The countdown is really on now. As I type this there are but two more full days until I have to have all of my pieces of jewelry in for my first ever gallery exhibit. {By the time that you read this on Art Bead Scene, the opening will be but two days away.}

When I started this whole process it was like setting sail on a big vessel with no one on board but me. I had to do everything from swabbing the deck to hosting the sails and steering this massive vessel into the clear skies visible on the horizon.

I set sail on this voyage back in January. The Gallery Q crew had been seeking me out to mount a show. I really didn’t believe that I had a whole show in me. I mean, how can one humble jewelry designer create enough to fill a whole gallery, let alone entice people to come and see {and buy!}.

I'm so glad that my inner critic is incompetent. ;-)

This exhibit has been one incredible voyage of exploration and discovery for me.

The most satisfying {and, if I am being completely honest, challenging} aspect of this whole experience has been in the collaborations and pairing just the right artists together. At first I really thought I would just create beautiful jewelry and find the beads myself, but then it hit me that this could be so much more if I asked the right bead artists if they would 'play in my sandbox' as Barbara Lewis put it. I didn't know if they would want to play or have time in their busy schedules, or just think I was nuts. But every single person I approached was more excited than the last. And many of them have told me that I challenged them and that opened their horizons to trying new techniques or colors or patterns. That is such a great feeling to know that not only have they inspired me, but I have inspired them right back! That tickles me more than you know.

Let's see what I have explored, shall we?



I have explored color with Brenda Wenberg, Kerry Bogert and Barbara Lewis and Jennifer Heynen. I discovered that although I usually shy away from bright bold colors, I seem to have a knack at combining them in odd and fanciful ways. Since one of my goals this year was to really experiment this year with color, I think that these pieces satisfy that desire, don’t you?



I have explored shape and movement with Roberta Honl, Juliana Cannon and Nancy Schindler. When patterns are so vivid as these it is easy to feel them morphing right in front of your eyes. There is such a strength and unpredictability in this art, as well as a very exciting graphic quality and I really hope I captured that.



I have explored botanicals and natural forms with Ann Waisbrot, Kate Clawson, Heather Powers and Beth Hemmila. Tulips are my sister’s favorite flower, so that is what drew me into this painting. I really liked the pop of orange and knew that would stretch me creatively. But when I saw what Kate did for me with the tulip beads I was really blown away. Taking the familiar forms of the flowers and breaking them down into more abstract concepts really pushed me. In a good way. And it was a challenge to come up with ways to make components mimic the beauty of nature, the light, the color, the predictable unpredictability.





I have explored free spirits and joy with Ann Singsaas, Christine Damm and Beth Hemmila. I have never ridden a horse, but they are fascinating creatures. Scary, but intriguing. I can just picture the ponies that inspired these paintings as wild and free and full of unbridled joy. I wanted to be sure that I didn’t cage these beauties in but let them run with abandon. And when you have such amazingly detailed beads it was not hard to expect wild abandon.


I have explored the bitter and the sweet with Ann Singsaas, Heather Powers and Mary Jane Dodd. I like the idea of opposites. And I think that Ann, Heather and Mary Jane do too. Heather was challenged to come up with a new natural motif, one that I know she as sold to others already, and that makes me happy. Although most of the beads and components you see in these pieces were made specifically for me and I am the sole owner of them, but I am so happy that I was able to inspire Heather to make something so fabulous that others want to share them as well. And Mary Jane shares my love of words and the deep and abiding power that they have. Blending these two talents has been a delight. There is a sweet quality to this seemingly innocuous plant that is really full of poison. I like that dichotomy.


I have explored precious things with Ellie Honl and Mary Jane Dodd. Learning a bit about the history of the Wardian cases that inspired Ellie to make this mixed media artwork was part of the fun. Knowing that these cases transported precious seedlings from far flung places was very intriguing. I had a lot of fun with these mixed media pendants of my own. {I hope to make more. I hope people will love them as much as I do. If I made them, would you want to buy them, too?} My original ideas did not pan out, and I am happy for that. Because it forced me to explore a different aspect of my creativity which I think turned out far better. And that is an integral part of the voyage of creative discovery.




I have explored transformations with Jen Selwyn, Lynn Davis, Melanie Brooks and Kate Clawson. The idea that you need to let the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis on its own so that it can stretch its wings to fly is something so personal to me. I wanted to capture that fleeting moment when happiness alights on your shoulder before flitting away. And I wanted to honor this moment of my own transformation.

I have explored storms with Ann Waisbrot, Kate Clawson and Heather Powers. There is something so wonderful about a storm. Okay, not when it blows your house away, but lately I have discovered that my new house has a wonderful system of gutters that simply sing with the water rushing through them during a good soaking rain. And I have witnessed more double rainbows in this new home than I ever did before. {Maybe that means that this is where my pot o' gold resides. I hope I find it soon.} I love it when the storm breaks and the clouds roll back to reveal those golden rays of liquid happiness. That is what I hope I have captured here.


I have explored contrast with Mary Ellen Pollock and Dora Schubert. When you distill something down to its black and white basic you need to pay even more attention to the details. I enjoyed the challenge of making the intricate elemental and the elemental go ka-pow. The fact that these beads were made just for me, inspired by this pen and ink drawing makes them priceless in every way. I am deeply touched that Dora went to such lengths to make these beads what they are, and they are nothing short of majestic in their elemental simplicity.

It has been my privilege to throw this party and invite all of these artists to play along with me. Since I was never the one that anyone wanted to party with I am so thrilled that they all accepted my invitation. I have learned so much about my processes and my style through all of this. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is to trust who I am and what I am doing and to let others do the same. I didn't give any of these artists much to go on other than I wanted a set of beads inspired by the artwork. If I had given them more direction I am certain that I wouldn't have received nearly the caliber of beads and components that I did. They have astounded me with their commitment to this project, amazed me with their masterful insights into the art, and humbled me that I, who am so new to this world, get to create what is sure to be my magnum opus.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your kind comments over the past few weeks. Your interest and critiques have been an incredible support. I wish that you could all be here to enjoy the show...and my birthday cupcakes!

Enjoy the day!

38 comments:

Alice said...

A beautiful post, and even more beautiful jewelry! I love that each piece was created from a partnership of both artist and exploration.

Best of luck on your showing--though I don't think you will need any with all these beauties.

Patti said...

Each and every one is truly unique and fabulous! Great work and bravo!!

Barbara Lewis said...

Your pieces are over the top! The ship left the harbor and ultimately found clear skies and smooth sailing. My best wishes for you!

Lorelei said...

I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite they are all so fabulous! I loved watching this progression. You rock.

SummersStudio said...

Best wishes for a fantastic show. The pieces you've made are beautiful and the process is such a wonderful way to approach a gallery show. Sensational!

Davinia said...

The exhibition will be fabulous. Your pieces are just so amazing how could it be anything but a huge success. Sending millions of good vibes from down under.

Kerry said...

you have gathered together a simply amazing collection of work, erin. you should be thrilled and proud. i know this show will be a sensation. congratulations on making a whisper a reality!

Michelle Mach said...

WOW! You have created some seriously amazing pieces! And what a great idea to have different artists create new beads for you. How inspiring!

mairedodd said...

this is indeed a wonderful and impressive accomplishment... from one theme to the next, you remained true to your vision but stretched it in different directions... please take pictures (i hope you can - i wasn't allowed to at the museum)... and all of the people who contributed to your project? we all believe in you - now believe in yourself!and enjoy this, erin... you worked very very hard at it... (get some sleep!)

Greer said...

What a wonderful collection! Wishing you every success - shame I can't see them in 'real life'

Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

What beautiful pieces and wonderful collaborations! Each one is a little piece of art and what a journey for you. Congrats and much success to you!

Cameron said...

Wow...you must be so proud of yourself! What an amazing collection of art jewelry....absolutely stunning! All diifferent moods, tastes and journeys included :o) So beautiful! Best wishes to you on this wonderful adventure you've embarked upon!

sandi m said...

Erin,
Warmest Congratulations! You did it! These are all just wonderful. Hope you can take and be able to share pictures. Would love to hear and see patrons' reactions.

Now what special design have you made to wear on opening night??

Beverly Herman said...

Congratulations Erin! You have a way words that drew me into your creative process. You will be a hit at the gallery. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself in your work.
Excellent!!

stregata said...

Congratulations, Erin! This is so fantastic - I can hardly find words - artist inspiring artist inspiring artist! Synergy - as the whole is so much more that its parts! I wish you much success with this show - you really do deserve it!

Regina said...

This is awesome! You have elevated so many artists along with your self to a whole new level. Wonderful beads and great designs. Thank you for sharing the process with us. I know the show will be a success, how can it not be? As you would say... you will make everyone coming to the exhibit 'Enjoy the day!'

Nicki said...

This is a wonderful post, and you will have a very empty car going home from the show, because all your pieces will be sold. Happy birthday, and thanks for showing us such an inspiring insight into your jewelry designs....

Christine said...

Oh Erin! This work is so very beautiful and inspiring! Congratulations, and I wish I could see the work in person. Enjoy the opening, and the show, and bask in the glow of your accomplishment! This is a big one, and YOU did it!

Michelle said...

I'm not going to be so eloquent...WOOO-HOOOO!!!!! You did it, Erin! All of the pieces are gorgeous and the stories behind each grouping is wonderful. I know it was a lot of work and sleepless nights, but YOU did it! And I hope those cupcakes are CHOCOLATE!
Bead Happy (and get some sleep)!
Michelle

The Empress said...

With summer here, I'm not able to get to my fave places...like here... as much. I anticipae news, changes, when I 've missed a few posts...but this is jaw dropping.

I cannot believe that a person as talented and obviously blessed with this ability you see here, exists.

These creations have a life of their own, and an energy that will pass on to the owner.

Magical. It's like you exist in them.

Jennifer Jangles said...

Wahoo! Congratulations! What a good feeling to meet your goal, the pieces look wonderful and I do wish I could see them in person. Make sure to take some time to relax and enjoy your huge accomplishment.
Jennifer

Kelly Jones said...

Erin,
It's not the destination we reach that's most rewarding. It's the journey along the way.
I am blown away by the number of pieces and the uniqueness of each and every one. But I am not blown away by your talent...I knew you had it in you! They are all so beautiful and inspiring, just like you. Thanks for the honorable mention in the tulip piece. I can't wait to hear how successful your show is.

swopemelmel said...

Beyond beautiful. So far beyond that we need to invent a new word for them. You take my breath away with your enchanting pieces. I love your Blog and your sweet spirit. swopemelmel@aol.com

swopemelmel said...

oh, I was also wondering if I missed the Bead Soup earring winner post? swopemelmel

Brandi said...

This is gorgeous, Erin. Your journey has been so inspirational and I love how everything turned out. Wishing you the best of luck for your show (wish I could be there)!

Stacey said...

Erin - AWESOME - I am just beyond wowed!! :) The whole concept is truly wonderful - to see your work with the inspiration pieces is perfection. The showing will no doubt be a huge success!!! Best of luck to you and please so let us know how it goes.

Silver Parrot said...

I shouldn't be surprised that no matter how high my expectations were for you during this process...you still managed to exceed them! Everything is absolutely stunning from the artwork to the beads to the collaborations to the personall challenges (like color) that you set for yourself. I hope your inner critic is well and truly silenced and that you take a LOT of bows. Congratulations on a truly exceptional achievement!

N Valentine Studio said...

How fantastic! I wish I could see it all in person. I love Ann's work, being a horse person it's just stunning. Wishing you a fantastic show!

Barbara Bechtel said...

Beautiful work Erin! Just the sheer work that goes into making all those pieces is staggering let alone how intricate and detailed each piece are. They work with all of the pieces wonderfully and at the very beginning i though some of the paintings were actually close ups of beads!

Be~Jeweled by Jana said...

It's all beautiful and totally amazing! Congratulations! You did it. I know it will be a huge success!

Anonymous said...

I Love seeing all of your work and everything you create. I'm so Happy that Kristin is at the Gallery ~Q. So I can see your new things! Congrats' & Yay for all that you do! Happy early Birthday Leo lady. I'm one too! Hope to see you soon, ~Linda Landowski~

Cindy said...

Erin, I am just in awe viewing your incredible collaborative pieces here on your blog. Just amazing, beautiful work! I love how you grouped each piece in the collage - wow, what impact! You have truly captured the essence of each of the pieces of art with your jewelry. There is so much depth in each piece since they include the interpretations of other bead artists as well. You must be so PROUD of this accomplishment...and your own gallery showing! Congrats to you!

Pretty Things said...

VERY cool adventure!

Courtney said...

Erin,
This all is absolutely stunning! I wish you all the luck, but know that you don't need any of it! Your work is drool worthy! I will be going back to look at all these pictures over and over. Your work with color - amazing! Thank you for sharing. Congrats to you!!!!!

hint said...

What a wonderful trip through your creative experience! This is simply amazing and awe inspiring process of collaboration. Thank you so much for bringing us all together on your jewelry. I look forward to hearing about the opening and celebrating your first gallery show!!

Jenners said...

I just loved seeing your show here ... you did wondefully and your idea was inspired! You are such a generous creative spirit and your show really demonstrates that. Well done, my friend.

SueBeads said...

WOW is all I can say! I just sat down and had some time to read a bunch of your posts, which are all amazing and inspiring, but WOW again to all the work you did! Amazing and inspiring!

Lori said...

What an awe inspiring project! Just finishing a mastermind article where two minds mysteriously produce a third in collaboration, I can see it has happened here. CONGRATULATIONS! For the courage to step out and for the tenacity to complete. 2010 is YOUR YEAR!... and it's just the beginning I'm sure. Onward and upword! xo
ps. oh and of course, INCREDIBLE work ;0)

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