Next March I will turn 60. And while this is certainly a milepost for anyone, for a working artist it calls some of the Big Questions back into consciousness. Many working in other fields are reaching retirement. I am just starting to get good at what I do.
One of my core writers, Dorris Lessing, said: "We are always surprised to find ourselves old."
She felt the human spirit was meant to live about 250-300 years, but that our bodies wane and then die when we're less than 100. We leave in our childhoods, according to her way of thinking.
And so, as the big '6 0' approaches, I still feel quite young and giddy, trying to figure things out.
I certainly haven't said all I've come to say in metal jewelry. Heck, I'm just recovering from raising two sons and getting used to the balancing act between work and family.
Right now, my work is about bringing my original doodlings to 'life' in metal and stone. And in merging my life's philosophy with what I make. And pushing my design skills to reflect what I know about shape, line, color, texture, and the alchemy that is metalsmithing.
So one of my Big Questions is: Do I commit even more fully to this path, or dial it back a bit?
Another one: Do I move from my tiny home studio to a larger and more professional (commercial, ventilated) space to illustrate my commitment, or keep it at home where it's convenient and cheap?
I want to make one-of-a-kind work and explore my idea of art pieces that happen to be wearable jewelry. And to explore the metaphors one bumps into when caring for grown children, a professional husband, elderly parents -- as well as listening to and caring for oneself.
Sixty feels like such a jumping-off point. Do I stay or do I go? How much more time does one have to be strong?
This is certainly what I want to do with my life.
Two new one-of-a-kind metal pendants from my studio this week! Top: Copper and sterling silver, with Ruby-in-Fuschite (in a rare yellowish-green). Bottom: Repoussee jeweler's brass blossom with sterling silver center and brass stem.
Today, when I was thinking about women and jewelry and design, I came upon the following video. It is an interview with Nancy Worden, a fine artist who makes metal jewelry. Listening to her expanded my mind far more than any jewelry-as-mere-fashion-accessory ever will!