Here's a little unbalance for all you lovers of order! These pieces feature a single stone, dramatic and bold, yet dangling lightly with an asymmetrical cluster of canvas, leather and recycled vinyl hand cut leaves on an antique brass chain and sterling silver wire rings. I am very into the mixed metals right now, love the contrast of the old and weathered brass accented by the sparkling fancy silver. Just about ready to paint a new set of canvases of different colors and patterns. I'm thinking details; lines, honeycombs, contoured floral patterns and animal print! Also excited to incorporate more salvaged and hand-me-down fabrics I have acquired from my sister, a textile designer in NYC, and from one of my favorite places in the whole wide world (for real), SCRAP!
I finished this custom order mixed media bracelet today. The request was for a feminine and whimsical piece in muted purples, pinks and grays. I am pleased with the result and am looking forward to using elements of this work in future pieces, like the rose quartz and crystal dangles resting on the greenish/gray feather adding a little bit of silly to the more serious macrame work. I think I just described myself!
I will soon be posting more photographs of recent work. Some more mixed media bracelets with zippers, felted wool, torn fabric, macrame, stones and canvas, and some fallen leaves macrame necklaces - one with rough cut pyrite stone - so funky!
Mailing out samples to the buyer at the Seattle Art Museum tomorrow.
Send positive thoughts my way please!
On Sunday, after a slow period, as sells tend to occur in waves, I heard a very relieved voice, "Amira! I found you!" A returning customer all the way from Wisconsin, here in Portland visiting her brother, had been searching for me at the Market. She visited my booth last summer and had asked me to create a custom made pair of earrings. Well, she was very happy to see me and inform me of the loads of compliments she receives every time she wears those earrings. This time around, my devoted customer wanted to purchase a gift for her friend who had been expressing a deep craving for some of my jewelry! So, she bought a bracelet for said friend and ordered yet another custom order for herself. She particularly liked this one bracelet, but wanted a slightly different feel, something whimsical, feminine and in muted purple, pink or gray tones.
I have searched through my bottomless pit of materials and am now focusing in on this collection of treasures.
How will it turn out? You'll have to wait and see!
I finally reached our apartment. I parked and raced inside to get my camera. This is what I saw as I left my building.
The sky had already changed drastically from the moments before when I was driving home. But, I had to attempt documenting what I saw, or at least create a collection of images that allow me to remember the experience, even if they don't resemble the exact beauty I saw while driving. It was still an amazing sight at this time of day. The colors inspired me. The light inspired me. And when I say "inspired me", I mean they literally filled me with energy, a surge of excitement, an eagerness to be in it and to be moved by it.
This canvas circle necklace was created from a mix of inspirations. The soft blue/gray/purple/pinks of the sky and the mossy greens/whites of the forest influenced my color choice. I believe that everything we see, hear, touch, feel and smell stays with us. Whether or not there is a direct connection, they stay with us.
One of the many benefits of having a studio space within a community of artists is that there are tons are art, social, fashion and other magazines lying around at my disposal. I came across this poem today in the April 2010 Harper's Magazine and it made me feel warmth. It was written by Jorge Luis Borges (1988 to 1986), an Argentine writer who's progressive blindness, according to some Scholars, helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination since "poets, like the blind, can see in the dark". Having lived in Buenos Aires, the city where he was born and spent most of his life, I feel very connected to his words. While reading his poem, I could see the narrow streets, the European influenced buildings decorated with authentic wrought iron balconies, artesanos in the ferias, plazas commemorating fallen Argentine Heros, brightly colored walls and incredibly rich and detailed graffitti, and, of course, the tango dancers in the street.
Who was it that said it all in a homegrown tango
Whose drawn-out, lovely sweetness made me pause
Under some unassuming little balconies
In that leafy neighborhood that isn’t even yours?
All I know is that in its sorrow I saw a simple yard
Within whose earthen walls the whole sunset fit,
A place I’d glimpsed a few months ago in some slum,
And that I loved you more than ever, hearing it.
Caught in that music, I stayed there on the sidewalk
Facing the lonesome moon, the heart of the street,
In the relentless wind that came down driving the night.
Toward the fresh stars. Toward the chance of being a man.
And toward that clear memory my eyes keep seeking
I recently returned to Portland from the East Coast where I spent 7 days visiting with family and friends. I cannot tell you how much I loved and needed their hugs, kisses and talks. On the last day of my visit, I packed up the belonging I brought with me, and a few extra items, clothing, an old painting, and a purse. As I shoved these items into my backpack, I realized the purse I was bringing home was actually quite gross and that maybe I could use its components (buckles, straps, fasteners) to make something really cool. So, I grabbed some scissors and began cutting. In walks my brother, also frantically packing for his trip back to Switzerland, and gasps,"What are you doing?" I replied, "What. I can use these pieces to make jewelry!" He gave me that look. He knows me very well. What probably flashed through his mind was the time I "destroyed" his Bronx Zoo wallet only to put it back together with collaged imagery covered with clear packing tape (so cool), or maybe the time I cut his olive green cargo pants to make a cute mini skirt. He knows me very well.I love materials. While on the East Coast, I also made a trip to the Fashion District in New York City. My mother and I spent about an hour drooling over brilliant stones of varying color, shape and size. We went to Phoenix Beads on 37th between 5th and 6th Ave. I am eager to start working on some mixed media necklaces, earrings and bracelets. I envision delicate necklaces with chain, a few stones, and canvas cutout leaves or feathers. Whimsical and feminine. Very sexy. Also, some macrame circles with dangling stones and canvas.
This is what I do. I turn these little treasures into pieces that make sense to me. I'm not sure how I reach a finished piece. I do research what other artists are creating. And nature, fashion and the city influence me, as well. Often times I'll start with one idea and end with something entirely different. I don't always know what a piece needs. A button, a buckle, a bead. Some canvas, some leather, some fabric. A braid, a knot, a chain, a crystal! Variety is crucial. It is so important to play with materials. Get a sense of what you are working with and break down those fearful thoughts - "I'm gonna ruin it", "I' m gonna run out of material", "I don't know what I am doing" - these thoughts freeze you as an artist. You'll never get anywhere with these thoughts hanging around.
And get messy. My studio is usually covered with scraps of string, canvas, fabric, wire, etc. But this is what it's all about. Organized chaos. And sometimes just chaos!