Monday, February 14, 2011

Friends and Lovers

It's Valentine's Day and the popular media would like us to think that it's all about romance, candy, flowers, and jewelry. But I say it's about the gifts of inspiration that flow throughout the year from our relationships with creative friends.

It's a very new thing for me to have friends that support and praise my work. In art school, there was a lot of competition and negative criticism. We were told by our teachers that maybe 1 in 10,000 of us would actually succeed as professional artists. Of course, that meant painters. If you mentioned textiles or pottery, you would get a sneer and jokes about basketweaving courses.

After I attended the School for American Craftsmen at R.I.T., I began to see fine craft coming into its own in curatorial circles as a valid artistic medium. These days I would venture to say that people are collecting handmade furniture, ceramics, jewelry, baskets, and textiles as much, if not more, than they are buying art to hang on the wall.

This past weekend, I literally devoured the photos of the incredible work my friend, Cindy Wimmer, has done for the new Wire Style 2 book. I was so inspired by her bold, imaginative designs and meticulous wire work that I decided to transform a heart shape I was working on with wire, to strive for more than the simple polymer shape I originally planned.

Entwined Heart pendant

I've been working with tangling and kinking wire in combination with polymer clay for about a year and now have a much better idea of the properties and idiosyncrasies of this material. I've embedded clay into wire-wrapped bezels (see Belle Armoire Jewelry – Summer 2010 for a tutorial) but I'm also liking the airier feel of the floating tangled wire embracing the polymer shape--like the vibrations of a heart beating in synchronicity with her love's heart. Yes, I am a romantic! I'm sure there will be more work to come with this technique.

Around this time of year, and it's been a pretty snowy one for most of this country, I like to work in the color red, even more so than in other seasons. It's intense and warm, it reminds me of the heart's fire and passion and .... well, I just love it! I did up some mokume gane in reds in anticipation of getting some things into my Etsy shop for Valentine's Day but got sidetracked by a custom order. But I will be listing them anyway. You can never have enough red, in my opinion!

Watercolors cuff

Watercolors earrings

 When we woke up this morning at our customary 5 a.m. my husband, Douglas, handed me a card. It read “When my mind wanders, it always finds its way to you” -- opened, it played Sam Cook singing “You Send Me”. He had written some amazingly sweet sentiments inside-- no, I'm not sharing those! But heartfelt gifts like this mean more to me than diamond earrings and fancy dinners. Since his job supports me in my jewelry-making, I made these earrings for myself yesterday and counted them as a Valentine's present from Dougie. He approved.

Greensleeves earrings


  1. How lovely! And I love the colors of the Watercolors line! And I love the piece Cindy made with your beads. You and I need to collaborate some time soon!

  2. You've got a keeper there in Dougie. I absolutely love the earrings he gave you ... if even indirectly! Beautiful work, Christine. The heart is gorgeous too!

  3. I've gotta get Wire Style 2 so I can see your beads that Cindy used! Your heart is wonderful, I love the watercolor earrings, and that was so kind of you to help hubby with the earrings.

  4. Oh I love the wired heart, what a great combination. Looking forward to seeing more.


  5. Happy Valentine's Day to you, Christine! What a sweet surprise to read such high praises here on your blog...I think you've got me blushing. :-)
    You have been truly inspired! Your Entwinted pendant is phenomenal - truly an original wire and polymer design like nothing I've seen before! And it looks like you used a few vintage buttons - all the better! You've outdone yourself again!
    It sounds like your Valentine's Day with Douglas was a nice one...and has me wondering if you cooked something yummy - I am guessing you sure did.
    I love the perfect shape of your Watercolors earrings - the mirror image is just right. And your gift from Douglas is beautiful. No wonder he approved!

  6. Awww, Christine! He gave you a card at 5 a.m. Before he was even really awake - or had he been lying awake, waiting for you to wake up? Your entwined heart is wonderful - love the wire work. And your indirectly gifted earrings are gorgeous!

  7. i love hearing about how people get inspired... your wired heart is beautiful - and it means so much knowing that cindy lit a spark... you saw something, internalized it, and made it your own... that is special...

  8. I just love your inspirations Christine. That heart with the rough and tumble wire is so magical. That heart looks fragile but protected by the barbs and brambles or maybe surrounded by them. You cannot have too much red! I love the color in all seasons.
    Enjoy the day!