Sunday, July 3, 2011

Consider your purchasing power every day - it matters!

How do you make your local economy healthier?

Do you buy from the big box stores or from local businesses?
Do you buy your fruits and vegetables from Safeway or from the farmers' market?
It may mean going to the hair salon owned by your neighbor.
Or buying a pair of earrings from a friend.
Or buying a wedding present from a local artisan.
Consider the impact of your every-day purchasing decisions!

- Harriette Estelle Berman, visual artist, writer, and small business guru
Lone Flower 2

I don't pretend to know how my creative process works at this point. Even after years of working in metal, doodling, experimenting, I'm just never quite sure when inspiration will strike or when I'll hit a frustrating dry spell. What I do know, however, is to be super grateful when a new idea really takes root - embrace it, bask in it, and, above all, make it happen. 

I hadn't really given much though to enamel in my work, mostly because it doesn't work well with sterling silver. Then silver hit $35/ounce and cheaper materials like copper started looking better and better. But how to make copper into interesting art? Oh yea, enamel! And how to make enamel more interesting than a bright and shiny 2-D glass-coated metal object such as the hoaky cliche Etsy-inspired sparrow? Oh yea, build up! And texture, and fuse, and over-fire, and...Suddenly enamel's not looking so boring.

The new series I'm developing glues metal to metal with heat and glass (like my perennial favorite, soldering - gluing metal to metal with heat and more metal). I'm playing with the way copper leeches into white enamels, and how bare metal darkens and creates contrast against lighter colors. 

But beyond the technical details, the important thing is that this is the first new work I've conceived in almost 2 years. Not that I don't still enjoy my other series, but a creative career needs innovation and reinvention on a fairly regular basis. Because I struggle with actually sitting down to intentionally do this, it is a huge relief when inspiration finds me. I'm invigorated, excited, to see where this goes, and grateful for the muses that pushed me to this new place.