13 October 2011

Same Sea, Separate Shores

"We speak of the same sea...but we stand on separate shores."
~ inspired by the writings of Gwen Frostic

My goal last night was to create 10 things. Pretty conservative since I have no less than 70 'simple truths' all lined up and ready to make their debut, and the only show that I do each year is coming up on Tuesday, October 18th. So 10 things seemed pretty reasonable.

But then I got a phone message about an opportunity that I had to step up to when I understood that it was not due until next week.

And there is the challenge that my unintentional mentor and style guru Deryn Mentock is hosting that is due next week (still time for you to play along!).

Plus there is the blog partner program that I was delighted to be selected for through Nina Designs. (Wait until I show you what they sent me that is so lovely I can't believe they entrusted me with it.)

So I only managed to make 6 things. 60%. I believe that it is a failing grade. But to be fair, at least 3 of the 6 were more complex designs (like the one I did for the Nina Designs/Deryn Mentock challenge. See that! Multi-tasking!) Does that mean they count for twice as much?

I decided to wear one of the creations today. Partly becuase it was so pretty (and who doesn't need a good dose of pretty now and then?), partly because I like to wear-test the more substantial pieces to be sure that nothing is poking where it shouldn't (and it is a good thing, because there is a flaw in this that I need to fix), and partly since I was awoken at the crack of 7:09am this morning by my daughter as both her father and I overslept. But I did make it out the door by 7:33am to race them off to school and me to work.

I have been making a load of 'simple truths' for this show. Each is more different and special than the last. And the 'simple truths' seem to be getting more complicated, or at least I am waxing more poetic. Which I love.

I have a mostly complete set of vintage books by the late author Gwen Frostic. I discovered a tome of charming letterpress designs and beautiful poetic and environmentally sobering text in an antique book store last year. I was instantly charmed. So I did a little research on Miss Frostic. Turns out that she lived in Michigan and spent her life as an environmentalist, naturalist, illustrator and author. She had her own press and each of these books was pressed and bound by hand. That means that if you find multiple copies of her books, each will be different. I know, because the book A Place on Earth is the first one that I bought. And I have another copy. And that one is different. In a world where things tend to get homogenized and 'samed-up' I love that this not only bears the mark of individuality but it is completely hand crafted. So refreshing.

Each page turn is like finding a surprise. The papers are hand made, most with deckle edges (which I love), the colors are soft and sort of sepia, the illustrations are stunning in their simplicity, and the words are profound and lyrical.

{a set of cards featuring things with wings}

When I discovered the Frostic tomes last year there was one that was all about Michigan. My Michigan, I think it was called. I found a seller on eBay who had a complete set of the small books and I saw the value in them. I got a sweet deal. I sent My Michigan to a very dear friend who at the time was pining to be in Michigan (and who recently got her wish!). So that is the only book of the complete set that I lack. But every book I have is personally signed by Gwen Frostic. That makes them even more valuable. They are treasures to me that I turn to again and again and I always find something new. She made more tomes than what I have and I am sorely tempted to see if I can make my set complete. I am so grateful that there has been a continuation of her designs through the website as well as new ones, like mugs and card sets and pillows. I am thinking that this year I would love a Gwen Frostic calendar for my studio. How could you not be inspired by looking at her dreamy prints?

{'simple truth' pendant, Czech glass, silk fiber bead, seashells, beach stones, glass beads}
I have this idea for a new Gallery Q exhibit that would feature the works of Gwen Frostic and jewelry that I created inspired by it. That would require a trip to Benzonia, Michigan to propose a collaboration with the Frostic group. Something for the future possibly.

While I was creating these latest 'simple truths' I was drawn to the colors and natural subjects and words of Gwen Frostic and I was most certainly inspired by my recent trip to Michigan. The shores of Lake Michigan are hardly the sea, but the feeling is certainly the same. I believe that this quote is inspired by her writing, or adapted from the text in one of her books. I am charmed by her aesthetic but also gently nudged in the direction that she was pointing with her life's work. Her words and images are even more poignant today, ten years after her death at 94 (she died one day before her 95th birthday). We all have much to learn about caring for our environment as well as caring for our future.

{we speak of the same sea...but we stand on separate shores}

With the way things are in the world today, I think it is a pretty profound statement. I find that the rhetoric in our society is increasingly about who can yell the loudest over the sound of the rising tide. But when all the bravado is stripped away, and the fancy turn of phrase, and the slick production, I see that we are talking about the same sea. And although we may be on different shores, seeing things a different way, I think that we are closer than we care to admit. After all, we do care about the same sea and we should. Maybe we could stop being concerned about ourselves and our need to be victorious for once and row out to meet the other, navigating the waters and working together to not rock the boat.

Your turn...
What lessons from the sea can you learn? What is most inspiring about the sea to you?


DVArtist said...

Erin... you said it all. I hope other's hear your message. Plus the art is good too. :)
Stop by my blog for another book giveaway. This one is on making rings.

Amy F said...

That design is gorgeous! and i love that pendant

JeannieK said...

Hey Girl, I too was "selected" for Nina Designs Blog Partner. I love that pendant and the colors are so soothing.
The sound and smell of the sea are inspiring to me.

Working together is always the best way to go.

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Oh my goodness, love your simple truths pendant! The sea, it runs through my veins and soul! It is beautiful, awe-inspiring, peaceful, harsh. I walk the beach as often as I can, but not as often as I like. Some days I like to just sit, look and contemplate. Some days I walk, collect and take pictures. Always, I leave happy and most often with a "pocket full of happiness" - sea glass, heart shaped rocks, interesting shells, etc.

Green Shoot Jewellery Designs said...

I really like this pendant and the necklace you made for it, beautiful!
I have an affinity for the sea, my favourite place to visit is St Ives in Cornwall. My daughter and I are going to stay there in two weeks time for about the fourth time this year, we are drawn to the beautiful beaches and the sea there. I can't wait!
Deb x

SummersStudio said...

Ok, about your 6/10, eg. 60% maybe you should curve the marks. Or give yourself extra credit for putting together such beautiful thoughts. Truly, the idea that we stand on opposite sides of the same sea are something I think we should all contemplate from time to time. I myself get quite weary of who shouts the loudest. I think coming at things from our common ground is not only the surest way to find solution but the healthiest approach to life.

I love your idea for the exhibit. In fact I love seeing how your simple truths are evolving. Thank you for introducing me to a new artist. And many thanks for challenging me to extend my thinking and world view.

rosebud101 said...

Wow! I love that beautiful piece of wearable art!

Brandi Hussey said...

The sea feels like home, but only if it's the Pacific. It humbles me, calms me, invigorates me, comforts me, and sometimes irritates me. See? Home.

I love the idea of a simple truths/Frostic quotes collaboration! Here's hoping it works out for you!

beautifullybrokenme said...

I absolutely love this design, and the simple truth it speaks is definitely representative of our world today.

But again, isn't it a good thing that we can have such varied perspectives on the same thing? Speaking from an artist's point of view, it fascinates me how others 'see' what I do and yet come away with such different impressions. My life experiences invariably color my point of view, guaranteeing it to be unique to me.

My favorite thing about the sea? That, even though the tide goes out, I can always count on it to return, again and again.

I hope you are having a great week!

:) Molly

Kim Stevens said...

The simple truth - this design really speaks to me! And perhaps because I'm so drawn to the sea. It's where my heart heals, my mind finds joy and where my soul is awakened!! It's also where I haven't been in several weeks.

This is just truly beautiful - I'm in love with your focal!!!!!!! : )

Heather Powers said...

I treasure my book and love Gwen's work. I'm so glad you introduced me to her prints. I think the gallery show sounds amazing and hey I would be up for that road trip!

The piece is beautiful. Both in it's design and meaning. You are such a precious and sweet soul.

Unknown said...

i love these necklace its so beautiful. such a wonderful colorplay and material combination.


Cynthia@OrnamentalStyle said...

Lovely necklace, story, and sentiment. However, what I wanted to comment on is where you said you wanted to get 10 pieces made 'last night' but got only 6 done. And half of them were complex designs. Wow! That sure sounds like a whole lot of creating was going on. Sounds like a 100 percent in my book. Makes me feel like a turtle! Note to self: must improve creating speed.

Aqua Junko Artworks said...

I love that necklace! I am a water/sea/ocean gal. The water makes my heart come alive! I hope to live by the water someday. Lori B.

Mary Harding said...

Great sentiment on your pendant. Love the hand printed book you found. I think you should pursue the collab idea!!!


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