At some point, I started being swayed not by peoples' judgment of me, but by their possible judgment. It was a fear based in anxiety, which has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. This fear has affected not only my everyday life, but my creative work as well. I have always been inspired by the natural world--finding wonder in flora, fauna, and stones. Of course, others are inspired by the same things, but as long as we are true to ourselves, the execution of those ideas will always be as individual as we are.
Perhaps it is from attending art school--there is a sense that your ideas must go beyond the base layer. There must be so much substance that making production work can often feel futile or lacking somehow. My education in Australia was vastly different. Sure, we needed to have a concept, but the drive was different. Exploring forms and ideas for their visual appeal alone was not frowned upon. I could easily make a series of rings about endangered butterflies (with proper research, of course) and it would be commended--in fact, I created just that for my final project. The pressure from my U.S. institution was far different, although it has made me a better artist both conceptually and technically. There was more demand, more pressure to be conceptually driven. Occasionally a student would come along who wanted to make "pretty things," and you could almost see the professors cringe.
Realistically, those professors are right. There should be thought and concept in what we make, if it is anything other than production work. Even for production work, creating a story is essential--a lesson that has been cemented by working in retail.
Now, I look back to artists such as Julie Blyfield and think, "Why am I holding back? Why have I let this fall by the wayside?" In this day and age, it is so easy to get caught up in what other people think. We are constantly bombarded (mostly, through our own choosing) with images, and as an artist who follows other artists on social media, those images are of other peoples jewelry. It can be overwhelming, confusing, inspiring, and humbling.
So, I am evolving. This evolution has been anything but a straight line--it is more akin to how we evolve as people, with twists, turns, loops, and squiggles. As my new studio space takes shape, my heart feels more focused. I cannot wait to share with you what is next.