Thursday, 7 March 2013

Tumultuous psyches and memory wire...

It's Autumn here now, but the heat wave continues. My cranky old air conditioning unit broke down ages ago so we are reliant on a couple of portable fans for some relief. This means, on the very hot days, I tend to move no further than the couch.  It seems crazy when so many of you in the Northern hemisphere probably feel like you haven't seen the sun for months! There must be somewhere in the middle that we can all meet and get some relief.

I was thinking about Kimberly's comments from my last post, about how our creations reflect something of ourselves and our state of mind.  I know when I make things I waver between anxiety bordering on panic (it's all wrong, it's not coming together, I'll have to start again) and a zen-like serenity when the piece almost seems to make itself.  When I first started getting serious about my jewelry, the former state of panic had the upper hand. Nowadays whilst I am much more relaxed, a niggling sense of anxiety and doubt remains - sometimes just out of reach at the edge of my consciousness, sometimes right up there in my face.  Self doubt seems to go hand in hand with all forms of creative endeavor, so much so that it might even be a pre-requisite for the artistic process.  Why this is so I don't know.  Perhaps art, like lava from a volcano, can only emerge from a tumultuous psyche.  I do know that the moment when something does come together is indeed a joyful one.

I tried using memory wire for the first time this week.  Whilst I love making embellished copper bangle stacks, I wanted this piece to flow - with one section leading to another, part of a whole:

I used lengths of tubing wrapped with sari silk ribbon threaded over the memory wire interspersed with eclectic beaded sections. The patterns on the silk determined the overall color palette and I tried to keep the selection of beads random enough to ensure texture without becoming too discordant.

In contrast here's a trio of copper bangles I made that uses the same ribbon as the memory wire bangle but is much more minimalist in its use of beads and other materials.  Completely different but I think still part of a similar aesthetic.

Unlike copper wire which, for me, is generally an integral part of a design, memory wire is essentially a framework to be covered up completely.  Quite challenging when you tend not to use beads in this way.  Having tried a memory wire bracelet I thought I would see if the same principals could be applied to a necklace and was actually surprised it worked as well as it did:

I also found some fabulous hollow bone beads in a thrift shop which I used on this assemblage necklace (the mannequin is teeny little display one)

Kai from KulshiMumkin had some new tribal pockets in her etsy shop - they feature the most beautiful vintage embroidery.  I have them sitting in a huge glass jar next to my computer for inspiration and have used a couple as a basis for necklaces:

 'til next time


  1. Lovely.
    Hoping you have ever more zen than doubt. Nothing stifles creativity faster than stumbling over self doubt. Trust yourself. Your work is wonderful.

  2. Ditto what Pipn said. Who knew memory wire could look that good?!

  3. First off - the memory wire looks fabulous - wow!! I'm still partial to your bangles though - they're my favs. The necklaces are all super, too. As for the anxiety/self-doubt thing and then morphing into your zone,...You hit the nail on the head for me - it's like it's a ritual for me each time I sit down to design!

  4. boy I could have written that first section...self doubt and undecisiveness goes hand in hand with me and just paralyzes me sometimes...more often than not in fact.
    I stumble harder than I think most people do...and work very slow...things do not fly out for me even stuff I’ve done’s challenging for me to be sure.

  5. I bought two of your pieces today on Etsy - and I hope your self confidence will grow when I, as a colleague jewelry artist, loves your work and buy it! :) It looks really gorgeous, and I can´t wait to wear it! So keep up the good work! :)