At times I find myself wondering and wandering around the studio looking at my materials. Things are arranged in a way which to the untrained eye might look chaotic. However, to be more accurate I would have to say it is a time-spanning chronicle, more of a testament to what is and has been of interest to me for the last several months.
Bits and pieces of stone large and small, found and oxidized metal parts, scavenged circuitboards, interesting and very old bits of glass bottles, sea glass, even sticks and wood scraps and old bits of burl lay about the large table I built for the shop. There are old watch parts, half made pieces of jewelry, stones already polished sitting next to custom bezel cups awaiting their setting, un-nameable iron fragments from machines and mineral composites from steel making processes, owl and turkey and finch feathers from recent hikes, sketches of pieces already manifest and pieces still in the sea of possibility.
Often when seeking some new inspiration I arrange stones in different positions, place them on top of one another, shift them around slide them over next to metal bits, looking for patterns of recognition on color compatibility or texture or composition. All of this process and analysis, to me, is felt and "seen" on a more instinctual level than those previous words let on or allude to.
According to the inner critics schedule, this is "Work" and can be thus seen to him if that is what he needs in the moment. That satisfies that "adult" and responsible part of me which is intent upon being efficient.
But to me, the real me, the little boy inside, this is merely playing, a natural pastime of exploration and creation.
During this sacred play time I often become aware of my subtle shifts of interest. Shifts in interest turn the compass for me and change the world I see. Soon I am sailing my ship in new directions to chains of small islands i have never been to but love.
On one of these islands I found a lovely integration of textured silver and amazingly textured stone. The rare bit of Hematite, reminding me much of the frog pond when it drys out toward the end of summer leaving only cracked mud, had an amazing texture. Unlike most Hematite you will find on the market, usually made into rings, this piece is not as dark and doesn't have the polishes black chrom-like aspect one usually sees. Instead this piece is a chocolate and more natural or organice color, a warm and rich darkness which alludes to it's story. history and ...mystery. This stone has been sitting in eyes-reach of me when in the studio for several years and has had this small orange Carnelian cabochon sitting atop it for nearly as long. I have often known these two would be mated, but it was still missing something.
For months and months now I have believed it was another stone, something which would pair up with this amazing stone and somehow compliment the things I see in the texture of the Hematite. But on this new island of creativity I realized that instead it would be I who creates that component of the piece through the fires of silversmithing and the esoteric arts of texturing and patination.
My work nearly always involves the integration of metal and stone, however this piece and the process in creating the front section for it takes it to a new level and a new field of play. I was able to experiment and create a texture process through amazingly simple methods (Using fire and stone and cedar wood grain and knot whorls) to create a piece which would refer back to the deep lines and sectioning found in this particularly interesting piece of Hematite.
The result is not only a very satisfying piece and a great sense of completion for a stone pairing which has been waiting years to be set and completed, but a confirmation that indeed my course of discovery and creativity lies in this direction for awhile ahead.