So, as I’m sure you’re aware, there’s this little holiday known as “Valentine’s Day” just around the corner.
I am always a tad abashed to admit that I am really quite fond of it. I truly appreciate the current aesthetic - the cartoonish cards with puns proclaiming one’s affection for another, the chocolate I can take or leave, the flowers, eh, but heart decorations, HELLO, yes.
My adoration of this holiday waxed and waned as a child - I remember being fervently hopeful that my crush would include a special message for me in the obligatory cards that we all exchanged in class only to be sorely disappointed when there was a generic TO/FROM on the back.
One year, after receiving another set of cards with zero personalization, I was grumpily stuffing a cupcake into my mouth when exiting the car and I accidentally crushed my thumb between the body and door. That nail eventually turned black and fell off later (I still bear the marks of the moment with a split lunaula). That year I decided I HATED Valentines day. Spoiler, that sentiment didn’t last long.
But it’s so weird to me that, despite knowing nothing of the history of the holiday, I had grasped at a very young age that this holiday was for romantic (aka physically intimate) relationships and took it personally when such a thing didn’t manifest.
On a side note, I don’t know if you’ve ever really delved into the history how this day and time of year was celebrated, but there was some very interesting practices that have since gone by the wayside with the more commercial reimagining of the Sainthood of Valentine - it’s origins are often attributed to the Roman holiday of Lupercalia which was celebrated on Feb15th and per this history channel article “...Lupercalia was a bloody, violent and sexually-charged celebration awash with animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in the hopes of warding off evil spirits and infertility”
Circling back around…I am grateful that each year of my childhood I would wake to find a themed basket containing sweet treats, a toy or plushy and a very lovely little card that my mother would give me on Valentine’s day. This was the beginning of my growing awareness that helped me to realize that Valentine’s day doesn’t need to focus solely on Romantic Love, but one in which we can and should celebrate the love you carry for another however the relationship is defined.
Acts of endearment can showered upon many people in a myriad of ways. One of my very favorite poems by Lora Mathis that I return to around this time of year which encapsulates my feelings so perfectly:
KISS YOUR FRIENDS’ FACES MOREDESTROY THE BELIEF THAT
INTIMACY MUST BE RESERVED FOR
BE MORE LOVING
EMBRACE PLATONIC INTIMACY
USE EMOTIONALITY AS A
RADICAL TACTIC AGAINST A
SOCIETY WHICH TEACHES YOU
ARE A SIGN OF WEAKNESS
TELL MORE PEOPLE
YOU CARE ABOUT THEM
HOLD THEIR HANDS
TELL OTHERS YOU
ARE PROUD OF THEM
OFFER SUPPORT READILY
TAKE CARE OF THE
PEOPLE AROUND YOU
Valentine’s day just is an annual reminder and reason to celebrate so many that I love, romance need not be limited!
That said, you are most appreciated, my dears - Happy Valentine’s Day to you <3
Mentioned in my recent “New Years” post on Instagram, while the date on the calendar has switched I feel like I’m still in winter limbo and my new year has not yet begun. I feel renewed during my first visit of the year to the desert - I’m scheduled for a visit again on my birthday.
As the pandemic drags on, now doesn’t seem like the time to be celebrating, but hibernating and deeply reflecting instead. But pandemic or no, reflection on life is something I crave in this season of chill days and lesser light. I can understand the compelling hold that a New Year’s resolution can have. But instead of seeking new things to change, I much prefer to do an annual visit of my life goals. This allows me to see how much I’ve progressed over time and what areas I need to focus more on. There is not the same instant gratification as setting a New Year’s resolution, but is instead a slow and methodical practice that has its own rewards.
This approach I came across from newhappyco echoes the process I use:
For the prior four years I’ve had a robust goals practice, until last year when things felt so unstable that I skipped my annual reflection and have been feeling a bit adrift at sea as a result.
This year, writing my vision using words was proving to be a roadblock, so instead, I’ve taken to sketching them. I know what the vision is without needing to write a single sentence, it’ll likely get interesting when I start to break things down into tangible steps, but for the moment, this feels like the path of least resistance.
Because I’m such a visually oriented person, switching from the written word to a sketch or illustration isn’t much of a jump - I often have a stronger sense of my original vision with a rudimentary sketch and some loose notes than a highly detailed written description. I think this is in part because I get lost in the technicalities of grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.
Speaking of getting lost, I also happen to be working on updating my artist bio on my site, to better reflect the diverse set of artistic interests I have and explain them in more detail than my current bio.
There are a lot of complicated choices I need to make when approaching writing about myself. Like, I can talk all day about the projects I work on in great technical detail, but when it comes to the reasons “why” and “who I am” in relation to my art, I simply freeze up. Why can’t my answer be as simple as it’s funny or pretty? Or humans are amusing?
I feel pressure to build a raison d’être for the site (aside from only being an image graveyard of old work), attempting to conceptualize my artistic practice, offering up my work (and services) for sale all the while reflecting on how odd it is that there is even a need for that, but, hey, that’s how I’ve been conditioned to determine what has value in this society. The struggle is real
Speaking of - there are lots of great items still available on LGHTLY HMMRD, and I’m happy to work with you on payment plans if there’s something you must have but need to budget for.
Don’t forget, there are other wonderful ways to support this local artist if you’re not in a space to purchase items directly - such as sharing/interacting/saving my posts on instagram, encouraging others to join the email list to suffer my ramblings, offering your body up as a model for my latest pieces, etc. Any, and all of this is greatly appreciated. ;)
Hope this train of thought wasn’t too derailed for you. ;-)
Whew! It's been a whirlwind these last few weeks. :)
In the midst of planning for the Waldorf Winter Fair, I was able to travel a little and ended up in a magical location of Arcosanti in Arizona. Modern architecture featuring cement domes and circular motifs set amongst sweeping plateaus and unexpectedly warm, sunny, pleasant days. It was almost a vacation for me and one of the best “work from home” locals I’ve had since switching away from the office. In the evenings after eating a full meal, I would spend my time tucked in finishing up the leaf loop necklaces.
Our flight home was delayed a few hours which threw off my game a little upon arrival. But I managed to pull it all together and made a sweet little booth. It was a good exercise in prepping for a show and an excellent excuse to make this latest batch of “lightly hammered” pieces which complement nicely my nifty new gold tooth.
Since we’re moving into the New Year and I’m personally feeling renewed and ready for changes, I thought it would be sweet to let you know how much I'm looking forward to sharing more with you all in the New Year!
I’m pleased to announce that I will once again be a vendor at San Francisco Waldorf School's Winter Fair on Sunday, December 5th. If you’re in the area it’s a great time to see and purchase some fresh pieces from me directly.
Since I’m pretty busy with creating some fresh stock for this event, I’m not as verbose as I would typically be in the newsletter, so instead, enjoy some pics of what’s currently on the jewelry bench!
For those of you unable to attend, if you see something you love, I’ll aim to get any remaining pieces up on the site the day after the event or just message me directly and I’ll be happy to help you out <3
It’s taken me a minute, but I’ve switched over to an email client for my newsletters (makes my life easier for me in the long run) - while it might be likely that I’ll send out emails at about the same pace, since writing is slow and requires some thought, I think the switch will be conducive to some more consistent communication from me. Anywho...on to my recent musings
This month I want to talk about “rules”
It’s almost compulsive, developing, and then following rules and guidelines for my art practice. Like, I’m trying to exert control over what often feels like chaotic inspiration. A recent conversation with another jewelry artist, Hannah [last name], helped me realize that rules (or limitations) are a useful tool in the creative process. Without them I would be paralyzed by the unending possibilities of what I might create. Rules become a way to narrow the focus to complete a project (or a series). Half the journey is just becoming aware of these rules I’m working within, that I’ve set for myself and the project - to identify and name them.
You might ask, what sort of “rules” do I abide by?
Weeeell, for example, with the current line “Color Bound” there’s these following rules and guidelines:
Use found, upcycled and gifted materials (buy nothing new to use in the series if avoidable)
Once the telecommunication wire is used - that’s it, that's the end of the series, move on, make some new things…
Dye the cord to match with the colors of the telecommunication wire - if it doesn’t work aesthetically, then create a new piece that will match the cord. Never let a good crochet cord go to waste! (I suppose this is like 3 rules in one).
Use only the non squashed sections of the telecommunication wire, and
If unable to use a section or offcut, keep every little bit for recycling later
Only pick color schemes in daylight hours (midday is best)
And another, used for repetitive handiwork generally, is to only watch movies or tv series that I’ve previously seen, a surprisingly effective way to loosely gauge the amount of time it takes to complete a specific task.
While not listed here, for almost every step in the process of creating a piece of adornment or jewelry, there are a series of rules that become my guides towards completion.
Then I have a series of personal rules, really specific ones that guide the things I wear and how I obtain them, but this list might be for another email..
And now for some other exciting news….
I’m sharing a few pieces in this wonderful exhibit:
The exhibition opens this Saturday, and ACCI Gallery will be hosting a rolling reception from 1pm to 5pm. In order to accommodate COVID precautions, they’ve divided the reception into one-hour blocks and assigned everyone a window by last name. So should you want to be my guest for the opening, please come by for the 2-3pm showing.
My work will be rubbing it’s metaphorical shoulders with pieces by some Bay Area Greats of the jewelry world. You should join, it’ll be great to have you there!
The nitty gritty: all guests are required to wear masks and social distance, and they will be limiting the number of people in the gallery space to 25 at a time, so there may be a brief wait before entry.
Address of exhibition and reception:
ACCI Gallery (Director Susan Friedewald)
1652 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CA 94709
Hours of Operation: 11am-6pm M-Sat + 12-5pm Sunday
The Gallery show will remain up until November 7th - so if you’re not able to make the reception, please swing by to see some incredible work anytime during the next several weeks.
Aaaand, there will definitely be future opportunities to see my work in person. :)
Firstly, I would like to personally thank you for signing up for my newsletter - it’s great to have you here!
For those of you who may follow me on Instagram, you likely have observed my general posting of the big piece I worked on for almost a month in the Color Bound collection - the bulk of my focus has been wrapped up in finishing this piece (no pun intended!) It turned out amazing, but whew!, it really took a lot outta me:
Had a recoup for a moment but now I'm back in the studio and very excited about the next set of pieces to share with you!
Soooo, something interesting happened to me a few weeks ago. I was ‘scouted’ through Instagram for a modeling opportunity. As someone who’s never done such a thing professionally, I had to reach out to a friend who does do his sort of thing all the time to see if it was a legit offer. Turns out it’s pretty standard stuff. Interestingly, this was a non-union offer, giving me the impression that scouting folks who are not represented by a modeling agency or union is one way to pay less for talent. Since it wasn’t terribly pay (not that I’d have any comparison) and I was curious, I decided to start filling out the application.
It initially described a little of what I was applying to, a campaign for a big brand name fashion company highlighting genderqueer artists/creative folks by featuring their work or workspace either through photos or video, so yeah, that’s pretty neat and I’m happy to participate (while never quite sure that I fit into the group of people they’re aiming for).
I’m filling out the initial general questions regarding gender/sexual preference etc, skimming over the essay answers I need to compose explaining my passion/work. But, here’s where the big pause happened for me, they requested my clothing/shoe sizes.
Not body measurements, but straight up clothing sizes. Women’s clothing sizes are basically arbitrary and Mens’ at least use standard measurements (but things can vary from brand to brand) - if I had any sort of extreme gender dysphoria this question would have really sent me into a tailspin. Ultimately, nbd for me since I make clothing and can easily grab the basic measurements.
But then, my imagination jumps to me modeling this big brand’s clothing while holding/wearing my own work or being filmed in the studio...and this idea brings up some really complicated feelings and thoughts. So, instead of completing the application, I start to do a little research on the company and begin compose an email in reply:
“As an artist who is working hard to get in front of those who are excited about, and would be willing to pay the asking price, for my work - this opportunity has the potential to help boost my work by putting me in front of that wider audience. And I wouldn't sneeze at the money being offered.
That said, my goal is to remove myself from the Fashion Industrial Complex as I have become aware of the toll it has taken on humans and our environment. Over the years I have been using my skills to mend and repair, and finally, to sew my own clothing. This has allowed me to truly understand the time and skill it takes to create a garment, regardless of quality. I understand that I still participate in the industry, with purchasing pre-owned clothing, or the few items of clothing that I do buy new, or even with new fabric I purchase to make clothing. But it is not on my radar to seek out fashion labels - I am ever on the lookout for quality (or fun) in the garments I purchase, and always working towards quality when opting to make my own (with mixed results). However, should I take the plunge to pay more than $100 for a single garment - I'll do it with someone whom I have likely had a conversation about the process of making the piece by their own hand. In this way, I have slowed the rate at which I consume finite resources, to untangle myself from mass production one small step at a time.
Being asked questions about my garment size feels arbitrary in the face of how I have chosen to live (who's garment are we using to base this information on?) Anyway, I don't have a clue - I use body measurements for sewing. My understanding is the intention is to adorn me in [company redacted] gear for a real high fashion photoshoot or filmed commercial campaign to show [company redacted]’s support of gender/sexual identity diversity (that part is awesome btw).
This is flattering and very enticing, but also goes against the thread of who I have become and the ways in which I choose to live my life….”
Despite starting this email, I didn’t end up sending it. After a considerable pause of several days and some enlightening conversations with my teen - who asked me if I would regret not applying to the opportunity (regardless of my misgivings) - I decided to apply.
But I never heard back. I'm mildly disappointed but mostly relieved - I want the glamour and publicity, but I want it on my terms in ways that align more closely with my values.
Over the last several years, I have been steadily creating pieces for my jewelry series, Color Bound, which comes to you courtesy of Bay Area traffic and my lucky observation of a pile of discarded telecommunications wire on the side of the freeway. Those of you who follow me on Instagram will likely be familiar with the body of work and a bit of the story behind it.
Weellll, I’m pleased to announce that I have officially launched a new shop: LGHTLY HMMRD where my passion for crafting adornment and contemporary jewelry is showcased and many of the Color Bound pieces are available for purchase.
For those of you who wish to continue receiving updates on whatever latest projects I may be dabbling in - I highly recommend signing up for my mailing list because then I will know you've consented to my artistic promotional experience. ;). You can expect to receive a few updates a year as I’m fledgeling in my commitment to generate interesting written content for your consumption - unless I have any exciting events that might warrant a few more pokes.
With all that said, most importantly, thank you for feeding my compulsive urge to make weird, wonderful and colorful art for you all to wear. You have my deepest appreciation for your ongoing support, encouragement and friendship.