Elaine asks…Who is the intended audience for this book, is it for your collectors? or for other artists?
Linda Kaye-Moses responds… First and foremost, I wrote it for myself. I needed to articulate, for me, the answers to the questions that my collectors, students and friends had been asking me over the course of my career. I never seemed to have a complete answer handy when someone asked me, “How did you decide to make jewelry?” Of course, I don’t think I ‘decided’, which is why answering the question impromptu was not easy. The book describes what I think actually happened to push me into making my ‘stuff’.
Wow! Ten years you’ve been working on this, that’s amazing! Did you know 10 years ago that the project would result in a real, physical, printed book? Print on demand probably didn’t exist back then.
When I began writing this book, it was an exercise in introspection. I needed to think my way to the primary events or experiences in my life that triggered the need to pursue making jewelry, what inspired my passion, and what propelled me into choosing to make and sell my jewels. I needed to understand, in retrospect, how all of ‘this’ happened.
Some people are able to clearly chart their paths early in their lives… they almost seem to see the road ahead of them. I’ve never been able to do that… at least it’s not a conscious thing for me. Somewhere in my brain, there’s a synapse that makes the choices, and somehow I walk the paths and get there, wherever ‘there’ is. So I needed to look at my path and trace it back to each first step(s).
One of the things that impresses me the most about you is just that you’ve done it, you’re doing it, you’ve made a career of selling art jewelry. You supported your kids with it, put them through college.
I think, if you read the book, you’ll see that I just plunged into the whole thing, mostly without understanding the consequences of my choices. Once I had made the choice to make jewels, I needed to sell them. Once I knew I had to sell them, I had to sell them a lot….Bills to pay!; Roof needed!; Food on the Table A LOT. And Evan, dear Evan, came running alongside for the ride, working with me (though not at the bench) to keep us solvent.
Was that the plan, right out of college, or did it evolve?
Nope…I was trained as a speech therapist. I do talk about that choice in the book, but suffice it to say, I was not constitutionally suited for that profession. I did a lot of things before reaching what I do now.
You’re making me think about why I became an artist, was that one of your goals with the book?
I think that will be a tangential effect of getting the book published. I only hoped to be able to clarify my path, to understand how I got where I am. Truly I think that we’re all thinking about how we got to where we are, but those ‘thoughts’ are running on auto-pilot somewhere deep in our brains.
Let’s talk about your jewelry for a moment. You’re a metalsmith who added metal clay to your tool kit and you combine both in your work. How do you decide when to use metal clay in a piece?
Oooh, good question and one I don’t address in the book. When I assemble elements to bring to a jewel, sometimes there’s something missing, a silence in the voice of the piece. Sometimes that missing element is a gemstone, sometimes a texture or shape, and sometimes it’s something I have to create using metal clay. Sometimes I can ONLY use an element(s) made from metal clay, because the material affords me results I can’t get any other way.
What would you like to add? What would you like people to know about the book?
Originally, the book was all handwritten, along with the illuminated letters, and it was very large. When I began to think about getting ‘out there’, I had envisioned, at one point, a facsimile edition, but, holy merde, would that have been horrendously expensive.
Serendipitously (of course), I was hanging out with my editor from my metal clay bead book (Pure Silver Metal Clay Beads) and happened to mention my handwritten introspection. She got excited about it, and I met with her and a book designer and we put together the book that we’re talking about here.
I began writing this book well over ten years ago, finishing the text ten years ago, working on and finishing the drawings, perhaps six years ago, bringing the photographs together…well, you get the idea. When my editor and the book designer first met, it was almost two years ago.
The differences between this book and my metal clay bead book are as follows:
a. This is NOT a tech book;
b. I am the artist and author for this book… I did all the illustrations and the text, and aside from layout, nothing was changed from the original.
c. I own the copyright on this book.
I’ve noticed that artists sometime have self-limiting beliefs. For example, I used to believe that jewelry wasn’t important, that it was sort of frivolous. This really got in my way, in terms of selling. I’ve gotten over that, thankfully.
Glad you got over that!!!!
Did you have any limiting beliefs that you had to overcome, as an artist? Or, to flip it, what beliefs do you have that have helped you in your career?
Doesn’t every artist have those beliefs? I think if they’re honest with themselves, they do. We all do. Some of us are more confident in who we are and what we do than others, but as human being, we are always aware of our fragility. Comes with the territory of being mortal, I think.
However, specifically related to my jewelry-making…mmmm. I have always believed that I could do anything if I applied myself to it! I blithely march into careers and tasks, consequences be damned. Life, therefore, had a habit of bringing me up short every so often, because, one can’t do everything, all the time, and do all of it well, nor can we expect that there will always be external acceptance and affirmation. And, as artists we do like acceptance and affirmation from our audience.
I have ALWAYS believed that the jewels that I have made, am making, will be making till I drop into the cremation urn, speak with an intentional and inspired voice. This is true for me, whether or not it is evident to my audience. This is the engine that drives my work.
And, to get back to your former belief that jewelry was frivolous…I have ALWAYS felt that jewelry can impart power to the wearer…from Bling to fabulous, it can be so much more than adornment. Each and every piece I make captures some of that effect, at least that’s what I hope as I’m making it…Energy in the universe is constant (or relatively so…no pun intended) and some of the energy I meld into each jewel I make as I’m making it, stays with the jewel. Some of me is manifested in each piece. Whew…heavy duty s!!!!!!!t.
You can find Linda’s book on blurb: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2391496
Linda Kaye-Moses is a certified Precious Metal Clay® artisan and has been a professional artist jeweler since 1976. Her artistic focus is on mythic connections and adornment as empowering-object, as well as on the kinship she feels with the history of her craft. She has exhibited nationally in galleries and at juried craft shows, including the Washington Craft Show at the Smithsonian, the ACC Craft Fair in Baltimore, the Paradise City Arts Festival and the Berkshire Craft Fair.
Her work has appeared in Ornament magazine, Craft Art International, Lapidary Journal, American Craft, and Niche Magazine. Among other awards, she has received two Massachusetts Arts Lottery Council Grants, three Massachusetts Cultural Council Professional Development Grants and a Niche Award.