Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I gathered several small stones (as well as fallen bits of wild honey comb and several large Great Horned Owl feathers and Wild Turkey feathers) from Little Owsl Canyon with the intention of creating some jewelry to auction off as a fund raiser for the Friends of Little Owls Canyon.
This stone, when found immediately spoke of a starry night caught in a lightly reddish/purple stone. A canyon night with its ambient canyon colors and white specks. I cant wait to see what this one looks like smothed and polished.
Another favorite is this simple grayish stone with its ghostly footprints (well, that's what i see, a series of whitish markings in a line, to me this always feels like the print of movement, as in my The Path Illuminated ring.) "Ghost Dance" whispered the stone, or was it the wind through the owl feathers i had found, or the canyon itself, or perhaps . . . my inner shaman.
And this stone, so exemplary of much of the canyons colors and form. The play of sunlight and shade. The line of the canyon rim and the sky as seen from below. The corners and cracks and shifts in color and layers of geologic time of this canyons tale.
I am very excited to get to this series of projects because of its timely relevance and to the local flavor of its spirit. More time in these canyons is my intention for the coming good weather.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Sometimes i just don't know what to do with some ideas.
Take for instance, this ever increasing (albeit small now) collection of larger stones that have natural hollows within which i cannot help but place other small stones.
I love the combination of these stones colors.
The green cratered Ciefenite and Carnelian i could definitely cut for a pendant or another prominent stone in the series of bold Ciefenite rings i have going.
But what about that gray stone with the natural white crystals in it's hollow?
The turquoise stone has been sitting in it for over a year now. I mean, i could cut it, but it would make a kind of tall stone for a ring or a pendant, even for my bold work. It seems to be fine just the way it is. Perhaps a paperweight, i know that it has been a good deskmate for me at my jewelry bench for awhile. Something about it i find soothing, it makes me feel good. Can't put my finger on it, it's just a sense i get when i see it in my periphery or actually take a moment to look at it.
All part of the creative process when working with the beauty and wonder of natural objects.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I had a realization one day. It was a culmination of the wisdom of the various saws i have worked with during the course of my life. I have used saws for cutting wood, metal and stone and each one has spoke of a different relationship, a different path towards the creation of the new thing.
I was able to glean a bit of wisdom which transcends the physical realm of cutting material things and which is useful in social relationships as well as to the individuals spiritual life.
What i found was that the softer the material one wishes to cut through, the larger the teeth of the saw and the greater the space between those teeth in their arrangement on the saws blade. When cutting through hard materials, say metal, the teeth are quite small, and there are very many of them. When you get to cutting stone, well the "teeth" of the saw are now comprised of abrasives, usually diamonds.
When dealing with simple matters of the social arena, say helping a friend move furniture, only a few people are needed and there are a limited number of actions to take. But in larger more difficult social matters, say social progress or cultural change, it takes many people and many small actions working in alignment towards a unified vision. I am thinking here about things as wide ranging as community legislation to radical social revolution.
In matters of the individual as well, say in self improvement or refinement, the easy change like changing ones clothes or eating a meal is done rather swiftly and in single event increments. But harder things, like losing weight or dealing with emotional issues or learning a new skill, these things take time and are achieved in a long line of tiny actions repeated over and over. It is a much slower progress, a gradual chipping away at the stone. This should be understood and considered when setting forth ones intentions as well as being aware of this and having compassion towards ones self, loving ones self with the knowledge that change takes time.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
The Marrianne ring was inspired by my friend Marrianne Von Fange. She and i discussed the ring for awhile, going back and forth on ideas for the material. She knew what she was looking for, especially color wise, it was up to me to satisfy her request and make her ideas manifest. I think it went very well. It is definitely one of my favorite pieces.
A lot of creativity went into the evolution of this ring.
This is definately one of my favorite creations!
This Companion Ring was the first triple stone Companion Ring and was inspired and commissioned by my friend Marianne Von Fange. She had some ideas about the colors she wanted and i went about finding stones and consulting with her as to her likes and dislikes and this is the ring that manifested. The large green oval stone is a very veined piece of Turquoise and the two smaller rounded cabochons are semi transparent brown Pigeons Blood Agates.
This ring, especially the green Turquoise remind me of the sea, the veins resembling the luminous underwater reflections of light caused by the waves above on things below the surface. This is only apt since the root of Marianne’s name would be "the sea" this coupled with the meaning of Ann being "Grace" i find both Marianne and this ring to be a testament to the "Grace of the Sea," or perhaps "Sea-Grace" or "Sea-Like Grace"
And all of this brings another bit of poetry from Pablo Neruda to mind:
The lichen on the stone, mesh
of green elastic, enmeshes
the primal hieroglyph,
stretches the scripture
of the sea
around the round rock.
The sun reads it, barnacles fade it,
and from stone to stone
the fish slither by like shivers.
Silently the alphabet goes on
spelling out its sunken syllables
along the immaculate hip of the coast.
On his loom the moss weaver
goes back and forth, higher and higher,
carpeting the caverns of air and water
so that no one dances but the wave
and nothing follows but the wind.
from Stones of the Sky by Pablo Neruda
Friday, February 20, 2009
Well, even though today was a bit blustery, i went out for my hike anyway. This time i made my journey to the Little Owls Canyon. Little Owls Canyon is a magical place and has welcomed nature lovers for ages as is evident by the petraglyphs or rock art gracing its walls. It has been a rock climbers hidden gem for decades. There are rare salamanders here, and i have heard frogs singing up in pools i have yet to explore.
The health of the canyon's waterway and wildlife is being endangered by an irreverent and irresponsible mining company which is still in operation despite its permit violations, EPA violations, and various other sundry violations of law, ethics, and environmental stewardship. They have been running a mining operation for years, having leased the mineral rights to land which is now a growing community of home owners. This mining operation is seeking a special use permit to expand their operation onto even more peoples land. A grassroots organization of rock climbers, land owners and land lovers has sprouted up in opposition to the granting of the special use permit.
Despite the gradual encroachment of the mining company and its pollutants i was blessed with sightings of much wildlife. Deer and elk tracks, bear and coyote scat. I saw one coyote, many little birds unknown to me (some that were defying gravity and walking underneath rock ledges upside down), a little woodpecker (nutalls) or sapsucker (yellow bellied), found feathers of wild turkey and great horned owl. The small boulder pools were mostly frozen with a light sciff of snow, enough to just make out see coyote tracks clearly, although beneath some i could hear the trickle of the creek.
My most amazing find today was of a mass of wild honeycombs hanging from a shaded section of stone high up a cliff face. I climbed up to get a closer view and took photos, but they seem a bit blurry to me even though the camera should have focused on them.
My love for this canyon and its healthy natural state has led me to attend the local county planning commision meetings, write letters, make phone calls and gather with others to discuss actions we can take to increase awareness of the situation.
One thing that has come up is the cost of legal representation for the landowners. At the last meeting of concerned citizens i proposed that we all do a little towards helping by focusing on our own areas of expertise. There are many artists involved, and i suggested that we make and donate artwork for an auction to raise money. We could make t-shirts, musicians could donate music or even write new music for a compilation cd to be made and sold to raise awareness and money. For me, i have decided to work a jewelry angle.
On my recent visit i collected a few select pieces of stone which i intend to work into a series of pieces which could be sold or auctioned to raise money to help in the raising of awareness about the Little Owls Canyon and its plight.
And in an epipheny (or was it the mushroom whispering) i realized the series would be called "Stones from the Pools of Time" and when i found certain stones they too had names, names which will follow them into the pieces i create (ie. Little Owls Canyon Night, Ghost Dance etc.)
This hiking trip in congunction with local happenings has really inspired me toward a new series of work with great local, social and environmental relevance and resonance.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
My friends, Kate and Shane Jarrett, who are the resident potters at the Sangre De Cristo Arts and Conference Center make absolutely wonderful work. Aside from their seasonal sales and my favorite, their Kiln Opening event nights, their work can be seen and purchased or sampled at Wireworks Coffeehouse down on the beautiful Historic Arkansas Riverwalk.
Yep, sampled. That's because Wireworks Coffeehouse exclusively uses Jarrett Pottery for all their coffee mugs, cups, and demitasse's, saucers, plates and bowls. This comes from the business and community ethics of the owner, Ann Chenu, who wants her small, local business to be a part of the local economic circle of small, local, and ethical businesses like hers. There are many reasons to support your local and small businesses, for one, their your neighbors. Another reason is that it allows you to enrich your community by supporting the parts of it you want to see thrive. But, like i said, there are inumerable reasons for keeping it local and low scale.
Well, Wireworks Coffeehouse goes through their share of Jarrett Pottery, for as any restauranteur knows, breakage is a major expense. Mugs are especially vulnerable to being dropped or knocked off tables or bonked against the edges of counters.
I have been collecting the Jarretts work for some time, mostly in my home where it now comprises the majority of my crockery. I love their rich warm colors and lustrous glazes. They have a wide variety of color combinations, but i have my favorites.
But i have also been collecting the broken crockery from the coffeehouse. I plan to cut the broken pieces into "cabochons" i can set in silver for rings, pendants and bracelets. I am especially in love with some of the glazes used around the rims of the mugs and edges of the plates.
This will be very attractive jewelry which will place portions of the Jarretts work into silver time capsules where they can be admired and cherished on into the years. It is a great way to recycle or, rather, upcycle local resources. It will also give Wireworks lovers a wonderful memento to remind them of the times and warmth and laughter they have shared, the plans and friends they have made down at the coffeehouse.
It will aslo keep all that Jarrett Pottery from filling our local landfil . . . although, a landfill full of Jarrett Pottery wouldn't be such a bad thing. Beautiful, in fact! Ah, if only that were the case, we should be so lucky.
to contact Jarrett Pottery
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Marta Sanchez has been recently interviewed by the Such Cool Stuff Blog. The blog is published by Fresh Peaches, and it's about, in her own words, "Artists, Crafts, Sales, and other cool stuff I find as I meander through this crazy internet thing."
My Earthship Studio on Etsy was mentioned as one of the shops that Marta likes. Check out the interview by using the link below in my Blog Roll, or simply pasting the link below into your browser.
Fresh Peaches interview with me will run on March 8th 2009, a few days before my 40th birthday, so stay tuned.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I find other peoples art to be such an inspiration to me. There are so many new ways of looking at things, so many expressions of emotion, so many textures. I'm glad that for a small city such as the one i live in, there are a lot of artists, some quite accomplished, and some quite good in my opinion.
Wireworks Coffeeshop for the last five years has kept a rotating monthly showing of local artists work.
Ann, the owner of Wireworks Coffeehouse gets a lot of feedback from customers about the art. She says she's always surprised by what art different people like or don't like. She has recently turned the coffeehouse's art direction over to Randy Wix.
Randy Wix is a local artist who's work has shown several times at the coffeehouse and is an artist who is quite busy painting these days to keep ahead of the demand for his work. His works are mixed media contemporary abstracts.
One of the things i like about his work is that it has lots of texture. I can enjoy his work froma distance, but i often find myself getting up close to check out how its all done, the grooves and squishes, the drips and scratches.
Sometimes i find a lot of joy and inspiration in just a small part of a piece of art. I find this to be true for artists such as Breughel and Dali or , as it is for Andrew Wyeth or local contemporary artists such as Randy Wix, Justin Reddick or Ann Chenu.
The above painting by Ann Chenu gives me vast imaginative teritory to explore, to me it is an archaic map of a mythic coastline, complete with deltas and canyons, deserts, mountains and islands. This painting is in my studio and often after stoking the woodstove i will take a few minutes to relax and gaze at it, letting my eyes follow the coastline and my mind to discover its stories.
And then there are painters like Robert Venosa whos intricate works, such as astral circus pictured below, give one a virtual playground, a myriad of luminous images in a magestic managerie to explore. Works such as these give one much to think about due to the often associative and symbolic or archetypal forms.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I haven't worn a watch in years. Not since i left my job at K2, moved into a van i remodeled into a traveling bedroom/camp kitchenette/library/home. "Van Go" an old bronze Chevy Van. I was on van time, mesa time, sunrise time, forest time, spring buds popping up down by the creek time. I no longer needed time in the old way, had no schedule. One thing i learned then was that when i ditched the watch and the clockwork orange schedule, i suddenly knew what time it was. If it was time to eat, i knew it. If it was time to drink cold clear well water, i knew it. If it was time to run through the woods when it was raining or catch snowflakes on my tongue i knew it, i was in tune with the moment.
And it all got me to thinking . . . about time . . . for the last, oh, say, 15 years. Time is strange. Humanity has come a long way through its course. We have old ways and new ways; old ways that are hard to shed and new ways that are hard to adopt. It seems like we are always in a mode of adaptation, and we're good at it.
Then along comes a guy named Albert Einstein who posits mathematically that energy is mass and time is a physical property, if you will, relative to ones perspective.
And then there is the ancient view of the dreamtime, the eternal moment, each moment a moment of genesis, of creation. That events don't follow each other one after the other, in a linear fashion, but exist all at once right now. That all of time just IS, and we are only seeing one portion through one set of eyes. That perhaps we are all these eyes and all these moments, that there is really only one unified field, one thing, one singularity that has been fragmented . . . the awareness of this "one thing" entity, this One, fragmented, by time.
And there are those who speak of a coming time, say 2012, where we will come to the end of time, and without time, we will have all this space and a new sense or awareness devoid of the constraints of time. Just this awareness/energy/space, no longer fragmented by time . . .
. . . yeah, it got me thinking, and yesterday this piece emerged in my mind, two elements i have been toying with for some time now, this antler button and this magnasite. Well i read that magnasite is said to help open the third eye, the eye of consciousness, a mind's eye . . . and well, it suddenly all just fell into place . . .
. . . i had found my new timepiece, something to wear and remind myself of all these intricate, interesting and important ideas about time and the glorious implications they have to me.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Annica of the Lydia333 Etsy shop has included The Path Illuminated in her delicious Treasury "Chocolate . . . and Lime". Check it out. Mmmmmmmm, i'm dying for some of those vegan chocolate cupcakes, right up my lactose intolerant alley.
Check it out through the link below.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I have been thinking, imagining, envisioning. Green, aqua colored pools and algae covered ponds, seagrass and moss, the ancient continent of Pangaea and the surrounding one-ocean of Panthalasca, ocean life, sea life, turquoise, chrysoprase, gaspeite . . . rainforest jaspers . . .
There is no shortage to ideas and vision around here. It's time that's the complexity in my day.
I have sea glass and orbicular jasper ideas.
I'm also working with some old materials in new ways, working my way into ocean life and pond life with some new series of drawings for "Seamorphs" or "Oceaomorphs" and "Polimorphs."
playing off the forms of tadpoles and jellyfish, wrapping them around the finger . . . and as usual my mind has been doing etymological sketches playing with the primal roots of words, creating new hybrid forms of memetic life . . .
The notion of those Mexican and South American crystal clear rainforrest pools connected by submarine caverns that are teeming with plant an animal life, cenote's, have been in my mind for some time now.
Friday, February 13, 2009
And what of the future of David A. Martin Jewelry?
What do i see coming out of Earthship Studio in the coming year?
Well, hopefully more of the same, that is, more of the new!
I have been exclusively designing and fabricating my own jewelry in my own studio for a year now. It's been a good year, a very creative time. So i see myself making more unique one of a kind pieces. I'm also working on a few designs which will require less intricate fabrication and cut back on my time. I'm looking to add a line of designs that are less expensive and in a fashion, more replicable to reach a broader customer base. My hope in doing this is to create more abundance and a wider arena for greater expression and connectivity in the art world which i hope translates into making a higher percentage of my living through artistic creativity.
I also have a show in 2010 at the Sangre De Christo Arts and Conference Center in Pueblo, Colorado with local artists Randy Wix and Justin Reddick. They are multi-media modern abstract painters who have asked me to compliment their work with some of my own. I'm actually not thinking of using jewelry as my medium for that show, but have been working with some designs for wall pieces, but still integrating metal and stone. The working theme of the show, currently, is The Industrial Revolution, so it should be fun. I'd like to work in some fossils and found metal, silver and ciefenite.
I have a patchwork quilt of a novel i'd like to tighten up and get a decent first draft of too this year.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I find that these things i make, especially the rings are like little treasures to me. The finished product is a little ornate treasure, something with enough strength and integrity of design to withstand quite a journey through time. Sometimes i think of them as time capsules, they hold so much of my mind and imagination in them, they are like songs made of silver and stone, sung in a very private language which would be hard for me to translate to another being. I have tried and i think it helps shed light on me and my mind and my personal mythos, but my hopes are that others see my jewelry and hear their own amazing songs and stories, that these pieces speak to others in ways impossible for me to quite fully understand.
If i were to have to choose my favorites (and i have been pressed to do such a thing) i'd have to say Companion Ring 1
or The Path Illuminated.
I mean, these two rings are very special to me because they are both "firsts" in new directions in design and style for me. These two rings, particularly, are very recognizable markers for me because they are primary manifestations of my initial work within a certain frame of mind or associative concept between the material world and my imagination.
Right now i am moving into new things. My Poppy and Citron Blossom Ring is one new direction (see my earlier archived blog about it), but i have more going on. The studio iss a very creative place, well, maybe it's my mind that is the creativity center, but the manifestation happens in the shop.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Recently i came up with a good idea for an item in my materials collection, shark cartlidge vertebrae. It occurred to me that if i carved out the center they would make great beads . . . well, for dreadlocks. My son, Raven happens to have dreadlocks so at first it started as a gift for him. One day I decided that there was no reason i shouldn't offer these up for sale. I started to carve sets of three and make them available in my Etsy shop.
I discovered several fossil grade shark vertebrae for sale online and battled the online auction and finally won. A fistful of dollars got me the small handful of vertebrae, but i figured that since they were fossil grade they would be solid and stone-like and i could set stones in silver around them. You know, really work up some nice pieces of ancient fossil and gem dread beads for the discerning dread head.
Unfortunately, when they arrived i realized that the cartlidge hadn't weathered the eons since the Megalodon Era very well. Well, perhaps its the fact that they weren't bone or that they weren't petrified, but some of them exibited a frailness i hadn't expected.
Some of them may be all right for what i had originally intended, it will take a bit more scrutiny and experimentation to be sure, so my efforts (and investment) may not be completely in vain.
It's all part of the process, the fun of experimentation and learning, using new materials and techniques, coming up with ideas and manifesting them.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I met Marta Sanchez through the online handmade emporium www.etsy.com last year and recently i was featured on her online contemporary jewelry site called 18kt. Marta started her blog in 2006, and with an average of 20,000 visits a month it has evolved into a meeting place for jewelers around the world. (http://www.18kt.es)
Her Bio explains how her family and childhood influenced and encouraged her toward a life of artful joy.
"Marta Sanchez, a jeweler and gemologist, born in Vic, Barcelona, Spain, from a working family. She remember drawing and playing with clay, walking through the forest with her grandfather who taught her also to tie her shoes and fix a light switch. Her mother would always tell the story of how she only needed a pencil and paper to entertain her, or to let Marta get dirty making figurines with clay. They still conserve a mural she made with plaster on one of the walls of the house with only two years old!"
After school she would pass her time in her fathers wood shop where she made wooden toys and furniture. This work gave her a mechanical aptitude for working and controlling tools and machines. As early as age 18 Marta knew she wanted to make jewelry, and enrolled in Escola Massana at Barcelona, where she learned about metals, forging, micro fusion, stones, galleries and everything related to a jeweler. Fascinated with stones, Marta decided to study Gemology and earned Gemologist titles from the University of Barcelona, and the FEEG (Federationfor European Education in Gemology).
I find that Marta has a keen eye for the integration of metal and stone. There is a quality to much of her work which allows it to be very flowing and rustic at the same time, industrial and yet organic. Quite a bit of her work strikes a balance between the showcasing of the stone and the framing of the metal. In fact, it's so balanced that I find it hard to decide if the metals are framing the stones or the stones are ornamenting the metals. It is this balanced integration which i find fascinating in some of her pieces, since i am so often drawn to one or the other in my own creations.
Marta conceives jewelry as ornamental objects for the body. "A jewel is something we wear to beautify our body. As someone who gets a tattoo, changes their hair or gets a piercing, I change my jewelry every day depending on my mood. I like to wear my jewelry as much as I like to show off my tattoos."
There is a great precision evident in the crafting of Marta's pieces, and it marries well with the thoughtful spirit and skill of her creative design. Marta admires German jewelry and enjoys the techniques of making jewelry she sees there. She likes to mix these ancient techniques with her new and personal visions of antique jewelry.
To understand the breadth of Marta's style one must really check out her extensive archive of works. I have only put a few pictures here to wet your appetite. Coming to her work with my own personal appreciation for myth and metal, I was immediately drawn to several pieces which spoke to me of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. I can see the ages of iron and the eons of celestial illumination.
All elements of nature and aspects of the cycle of life are represented in Marta's work. It is no wonder that we find much of her work informed by the mythology and cosmology of ancient Egypt. Currently Marta has a few collections on display; Atón, Geb, Nut, Isis and Flor de Lotus. All of these inspired from Old Egypt, their gods and beliefs as they influence us today.
Marta lives and works in Barcelona, in her own studio and showroom.
Make sure you check out Martas magical video "Flor de Lotus" below!
(after it loads, click on "english" to the left for a translated version)
Marta's Flor de Lotus Video can be seen at
See Martas blog about my work at:
I will also be mentioned in an interview with Marta on the Such Cool Stuff! blog on 2/16/09.