Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hello, World...Sorry We're Killing You

I've been in a bit of a dark head-space lately.  Don't ask why, just turn on the news.  If you are one of those folks who proudly declares, "I don't watch the news or read the newspaper--it's too depressing", forgive me if I want to punch you in the throat.   Refusing to acknowledge the times we live in doesn't make it all better, it just means you are actively choosing not only to do NOTHING ABOUT IT, but you are also insulting those in the world struggling to survive in horrific circumstances by pretending they don't exist.   Your pretend world doesn't interest me.

That being said, I feel that in this moment in time,  we bear witness to some of the most tragic, depraved, desperate and mindless behaviors of our species.

As we watch, we are inundated with technicolor images and bold-faced text describing and displaying the worst of humanity.  A tidal wave of despair in pixels and paper.  How to make sense of it?  How to weed through the flood of noise that is the news these days to really understand what we are being shown?  I want to reach through the screen, try to touch a real flesh and blood human being, establish some sort of contact to say, "I'm here,  I see you.  I hear you and I weep for you."

It's overwhelming.
I have a series of pendants and necklaces I call "Sacred Salvage".  Within this are "Poetry Pieces" and "Storybook Necklaces".  These are designs created around a short story or poem I have written.  They incorporate found objects, mixed metals, all manner of this and that.  I felt the need to create a new assemblage, but without a printed story to go with it.  I wanted the piece itself to be the story. 
"Screaming Silence - Read Between the Lines"

 So, I sat at my bench and started gathering bits and pieces together.  A story was brewing in my mind, a sad story but one I wanted to tell.  I've been asked what my process is when I make a storybook or assemblage design, and I have absolutely no definitive answer.  I usually begin with an idea.  Sometimes just a word.  Today two words jumped out at me--"guise" and "forlorn".  I found them on a bit of transparency sheet.  I formulated a rough picture in my brain of a window, with the cover rolled back.  Newsprint crammed full of text with a face peering from behind, trying to be seen amidst the noise--the hidden agendas.  More newsprint is jammed into the window cover.  Mind you, as I imagined this, I am sifting and sifting through drawers and dozens of boxes on my table.  It's actually kind of mindless in a purposeful way--if that makes sense at all.  I also totally lose track of time at this point.  I wanted three dimensional items to reflect the story--a tiny broken doll arm for the loss of innocence, a dragonfly wing for the desperate, futile urge to flee, a watch arm for the passage of time.  Turquoise represents the Earth to me, cracked and nearly ruined, but still blue.  A broken circle holds it all with a drop of red enamel representing the horror of spilled blood.  Held together with rivets and screws.

No, it's not a happy creation.  I made it with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes.  I wanted it to be beautiful though, because ALL LIFE SHOULD BE BEAUTIFUL.  There is beauty all around us.  What I don't understand is why, at this moment in history, mankind seems to want to destroy all that is beautiful.

So, we bear witness.
I hope this pendant finds a home with someone who will appreciate and understand this story.  I've been asked if it is hard to part with some of these designs.  The answer is no.  Stories are meant to be shared, passed on.  That's how they stay alive.  I hope someone wants this pendant to add to their own story.


Anonymous said...

Karen, I am so glad you shared your very thoughtful process for this unique piece... it is amazing!...and love "Stories are meant to be shared, passed on. That's how they stay alive." Bravo!

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

What a heartfelt post - you have put my thoughts into words. My sentiments exactly.....

The necklace is stunning! To transform your thoughts into wearable art is truly a gift.

Anonymous said...

I was touched by your post about channeling your dark thoughts into a beautiful piece of jewelry to share. We all need to be mindful of our effect on those around us.


Judith Yeagley said...

You have given me a totally different perpespective on jewelry designing. Your piece is awesome and I understand your message.

Keith@ Vintage Crab Jewelry and Crafts said...

That is a very moving story and a very moving piece. I feel you...