This past Fall I tried something different to market my work and exhibited at a boat show. It seemed like a good fit and that experience itself will be the subject of its own blog post later, but part of the experience helped launch a different project.
Coriander Woodruff is an artist, photographer and the daughter of my best friend, Patricia Woodruff. She was helping me out at the boat show, along with my good friend Anita, former proprietor of Sparkle’s Jewelry of West Melbourne, FL. We are three people experienced in sales of this kind, yet it was astounding to us the amount of “free advice” we gals received from the male businessmen whose booths surrounded us.
The interior of the vending tents was stifling for October. Coriander carried a metal framed martial arts fan that we all shared at times. First it just seemed like a sturdy accessory that helped to cool us, but then we realized that it could act as a barrier and deterrent to the “man-splaining” we were finding ourselves subject to hearing.
During the late 1990s I lived on a sailboat docked on Toms River in Pine Beach, NJ. It was a beautiful place to live, but I was feeling a little isolated from friends and family. I was able to connect online with a group of women that eventually formed the core of an intentional family for me. We met in diners, each other’s homes and sometimes on the beach to celebrate the seasons. It was a magical time that lasted almost three years. As time passed we scattered, but all of these women still hold a special place in my heart.
Sophia probably wandered the most, moving to the UK for several years and then returning to the US to settle in Maryland. Sometime last Fall she returned to her native Ohio to be with family and start anew. I was delighted to hear from her in November.
About 4 years ago when I returned from a study abroad program in the UK, I realized that part of what made that trip such an amazing experience was the fact that where ever we went, we found jewelry to look at. In galleries, museums, schools and artist studios. I missed that and, upon my return, suddenly realized that it didn’t take a lot of effort to continue that experience here in my own country. Since then, I’ve tried to make an effort that whenever I travel, I look for museum exhibits and galleries that feature art jewelry, innovative craft and opportunities to connect with other jewelry artists.
The artisan jewelry market is growing in recent years with more and more people turning their jewelry making hobby into a side business. One only has to walk through the craft section of a book store or the jewelry making aisle in your local craft store to see how popular it is to make jewelry.
The inspiration for jewelry design can come in many different areas. Nature, architecture, even the human body itself can offer ideas and forms for creating a piece of jewelry. Because the jewelry is usually an expression of the person wearing it, design is as varied as individual people.
The nature of wave forms and my visualization of the way they travel through water and air has inspired much of my work in recent years. Doodles and sketches in the margins of my notebooks end as a labyrinth that grows organically to eventually take over a the entire page.