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As a jewelry artist, and the urging of mask wearing during this pandemic have lead me to explore the history of masks and how I might visually incorporate a mask into my metal smithing.
Masks have had their influence on Modern art movements, with artist like Pablo Picasso and Matisse who found masks of Western Oceania as inspiration. I too, am hoping to express our human spirit just like the first Americans who carved emblems of themselves and their surroundings into totem poles and masks.
While some masks and masked ceremonies have died out over the years, other cultures have held onto their traditions. The Venetian Carnival Masks come to mind as well as the Mexican Day of the Dead. In general masks tend to represent spirits or beings important to the ritual in which the mask is used.
My inspiration was the Covad virus. To create a mask that was a universal icon, symbolizing respect for others. A mask without any associated religious or social customs. A mask that would subtly promote respect others and acknowledge our connected universe. I believe a mask can be a transformative experience, just look at Halloween.
Masks have been an important cultural experience. Like artists before me, I am reacting to a social event. I have created a subtle mask-like image that can be worn as pendant and or as earrings and can be ordered in silver or gold. Let's embrace the mask, making it an important part in our universal fight to end this virus.
Nature has surrounded my being for as long as I can remember. What prompted me to create jewelry with such fluid patterns? I guess it would be when as a young boy I discovered the craft of making Dandelion jewelry. Hours were spent collecting the soft buttery flowers with their milky stems and fashioning them into chokers, bracelets and sticky rings.
Perhaps that experience laid dormant until adult hood. On a whim I responded to a part time evening class at Parsons School of Art in New York. The first torch lighting was such an awaking. The young boy who knew no boundaries weaving flowers suddenly found an old passion;ic jewelry making. The creative energy I responded to years ago holds true for me now as I sketch dynamic patterns and mythical creatures bringing them to life in metal and gemstones.A love of Nature and the animal world along with a sense of connection remain a driving force for my jewelry today. There is a sacred magic and myth for me that emerges from the sketch to the precious metal and the final polished jewelry art.
That’s what it’s all about! Creating jump rings small enough for the Dragon Bracelet was one of my first challenges. For the jump rings, I chose 14kt white gold wire for its added strength. To create the very small jump rings, I began by twisting the white gold wire around a T-pin. A somewhat slow process that delivered perfect same size jump rings. With all the twisting and shouting, I now was ready to begin soldering 3 tiny rings onto each Dragon link.
With my interest in the animal myths and the animal kingdom, it should not surprise anyone that I love a good fantasy. From time to time, I depart from my morphed animal images to a simple animal depiction. I had a bracelet idea floating in my head while, like many Americans, I was watching Game of Thrones. Rather than depict a mythical dragon complete with wings, scales and claws, I wanted to attempt a more modern, abstract dragon. Often I find my drawings take on a life of their own when I begin carving my drawing into wax. Since there is such a variety in what is considered a “dragon” I felt a certain freedom to create the two headed magical creature seen in the drawing and photo above.
My biggest challenge was the connection of each two headed dragon link. Originally, I drew a basic link to link for each connection, but once I began soldering each sterling link, I felt the bracelet lacked interest. Pushing myself to find a more interesting connection I, after chatting with another artist I came up with what I think is a perfect solution. Between each link will be a very small egg like connection that will somewhat cover the jump rings used to connect the links. The small dome shapes reminded me of the dragon eggs. I am excited to rework the linkage using 14kt white gold jump rings for added strength.To complete the look, I am planning on setting 5 red garnet cabochons between each dragon link representing the hot, fierce fire-breathing dragon I could carve.