Yesterday I went to Ed's house and talked about rocks for hours, dug through piles of them, purchased cabochons he'd made recently and took home some slabs to make my own cabs with.
We talked about the prices we've been seeing lately, me with metal and he with lapidary: the undercutting, the quality of craftsmanship and the sheer colossal number of sellers these days... we wondered how folks are making a living, how the community is doing... it was a great day, a thought provoking day, a day after which I pondered my own collection of stones: their origin, their 'feel'.
As I drove home I made the decision not to go to Tucson this year because it was between Tucson and making an album, and, well.... the album won. Matteo and I are making an album of duets, and we are PSYCHED*.
The other part of the decision is this: so much is mass produced right now, so many arts that are done by hand are fading, and I want to be a part of the new guard of the old school. There is only so much money to spend and though I could blow through a ton in Arizona I think it's wise to spend it learning instead.
I also want to keep lapping my own stones and also supporting the work of those whose lapidary skill I count on in my designs:
I want to learn ancient techniques
and bring them into my modern designs with gusto!
While looking into engraving as an option for my metalwork, I was supported by a dear Jeweler friend of mine in Florida, and he sent me lots of material, but a lot of it was machine based:
I despaired a little, because after my investment in lapidary equipment I couldn't forsee having thousands to spend on one handpiece, let alone the classes to learn its uses.
Enter fate, or Jillian, who pointed me out to this FABULOUS woman who is having this troupe of toolsmiths and craftspeople come teach hammered engraving in California!!!!
I am thrilled at the similarity between my medium and this newness: tooling on leather with hammers and various metal bits will likely inform my hand with this transition to learning a similar yet different skill in metal.
I want to stretch.
I want to grow.
There is a great pull to innovate in a responsible way, using stones whose origin I know, whose energy I understand has been harnessed and focused into a meaningful piece....
I strive to offer incredible pieces full of soul and my own wonder at being lucky enough to make them...
I wish to be a valuable contributor to a community that has some rifts: to speak with compassion to my fellow creators, to lift and be of service.
I think it is critical that my art heal and 'work' for the woman or man who carries it, or wears it, be it leather or metal, stone or suede.
I want to keep older traditions alive in my generation as I learn them and pass them on to the next as I can teach them...
Just thinking through the keyboard tonight, wishing I could clone myself and do ten thousand million things, have babies and make pesto and buy a huge rock saw and learn to oil paint and do yoga everyday and travel the country taking classes on geology and visit faraway friends at each stop and
*Deeply, deeply excited, for those of you who do not live with teenagers or in California ;)