Wow, this is a tough one. What do I want to say about commitment? It astonishes me that I’ve been making jewelry for 20 years now! (If you don’t count the fishing swivel jewelry I made as a kid.)
I’ve been committed to the art of jewelry making since that first week of metalsmithing class in college. I got the last space in the class and went from my first project, which the head of the department actually ridiculed during a critique, when she just happened to be passing by, to a beautifully executed gold ring for my final project.
My T.A. (teaching assistant) for that class defended that first piece to the professor, thank you Hollis!
From there I went on to take more classes, in college, in trade school, in gemology with GIA, at Arrowmont. I did two apprenticeships. I briefly tried out grad school. I began to build my tool collection.
I stayed committed to jewelry as an art form. With few exceptions, I didn’t allow myself to work on other art forms or craft media. Metalsmithing has a never-ending array of techniques to master, and for me that’s part of the attraction. As Tom Hanks said in A League of their Own:
“It’s the hard that makes it good. If it weren’t hard, everybody’d do it.”
The one time that I stopped making jewelry was after my older brother died suddenly. After that, jewelry seemed so pointless, so meaningless.
Here’s an excerpt from an essay I wrote about my work for a project:
Well, for a while, I stopped making art at all. If I were to line up all my sketchbooks — where I scribble out my ideas for jewelry, and then write long descriptions explaining what the drawings are, since no one can tell, including me, if I wait long enough to look at it again — there would be a gap there, years probably.
It became meaningless. Why make jewelry? How trival. It didn’t matter.
But clearly, I did come back to art making and jewelry making. And the way back in was through grief, and a string of grief-projects. I’ll show you the El Dia de los Muertos Shrine I made for my brother.
Here’s a post where I talk more about the shrine and art and death: Art and Liminal Times.
And so I continue. I battle the dishes, I make time for my art, I enter shows, I fail to enter shows (whoops! missed another deadline!), but I remain committed to my art, because this is what I do, this is who I am.
This post is a part of the Art Bead Scene blog carnival.