Body Impolitic has been going along without me for the last ten days because I was in Boston for Boskone showing my jewelry. I was feeling very pleased the afternoon before I left. Everything had gone unusually smoothly and I was thinking about blogging before I left. Then I had a random chance accident with broken china, and ended up rushing to the injury clinic of Kaiser to get 5 stitches in the ball of my left thumb. (Thank god it was my left thumb). The cab driver was kind enough to tie my shoe laces for me.
With some help from friends (Thank you Bayla and thank you Ctein) the show went OK. It’d amazing how different life is with one and a quarter hands. (That’s what being temporarily one thumbless feels like.) Work that normally would take 3 minutes took 30. Now, I’ve returned, the stitches are out, everything looks good and I should have my thumb back within a week.
I left for the plane to go to Boston with a heavily bandaged wrist and thumb. Everyone was remarkably helpful. San Francisco has a disability line for security, which is a good thing to know. In terms of disability, it seemed like an injury that folks perceive as something that could happen to them tomorrow gets a remarkable level of help. I really appreciated the assistance, but had the feeling that if I’d been in a wheel chair, folks would not have been quite so enthusiastically helpful.
As I said, it all went well. I’d designed a group of pieces from fossils, geodes and related materials that I was excited about. I love working with all kinds of unusual stones and spend an inordinate amount of time involved with them. I like doing groups of related works. All of my work is lost wax casting.
Ammonite Pendant is 2.5 by 2″
This pendant in made in sterling silver with a polished ammonite fossil with 2 fresh water pearls and a ruby eye. Ammonites went extinct in the Cretaceous about 65 million years ago. When I’m making something that exists (or did exist) in reality I like to work from a group of images. I used about six different pictures of ammonites to carve and design this pendant. What I want is a strong sense of the reality of the creature, although of course I’m seriously abstracting from reality to make work that feels aesthetically right and alive. Literal reproduction tends to look flat and rather dead to me.
Parrot and obsidian is close to life size.
I had the obsidian knife cut especially for me. It’s knapped exactly the way they were made in pre-metal cultures. I had finished carving a handle for it in wax but hadn’t cast it yet. Then I went to the De Jong Museum and saw a Mayan parrot headed knife. It was very different from the one I made, but it was inspiring. I went back to my studio and started over from scratch (something I rarely do). A few years ago, I did a series of parrot designs for Judy Lazar so I don’t need photos to make parrots. I carve all my work with magnifiers. In this case so I can do the very finely detailed feathers. When it was finished, it clearly needed an emerald eye. This work uses the same principle as the ammonite, abstract from reality so that the work looks aesthetic, real and alive.
I’m thinking about making some ammonite earrings when my thumb recovers.