I am currently part of a two-person show entitled "Life Cycles" at the Gallery at WREN in Bethlehem, NH. https://www.wrenworks.org/gallery/. My gallery partner is Michele Johnsen who paints fabulous interpretations of forests and their interactions. "Life Cycles" is up through 8/26/22 and is a must-see-if-at-all-possible event if for no other reason than to be immersed in the vibrancy that is Michele's work. Being a part of this has allowed me to explore themes, or more specifically the theme of the life force which exists all around us in a multitude of forms, and the ecosystems it cycles through. And, by the way, if you haven't read it, or even read it recently, I highly recommend this essay by Rebecca Solnit: https://lithub.com/letter-to-a-young-climate-activist-on-the-first-day-of-the-new-decade/
I see the world through the lens of a line from a favorite Rebecca Solnit essay, in which she writes that “life wants to live”. https://lithub.com/letter-to-a-young-climate-activist-on-the-first-day-of-the-new-decade/ . It's such a simple explanation, but captures the common ground that all living things share, from single cell organisms to the complexity that is homo sapiens. It opens the door to just how miraculous life is, in all of its different forms. That life wants to live, and has evolved to coexist in various life cycles and ecosystems that are simultaneously chaotic and ordered, both fascinates and inspires me. This inspiration propels me to work in my medium of choice, metals, to capture life in its various forms in all of its glory. I am also inspired by the work of Maria Sibylla Merian, a 17th century European artist who studied the life cycles of insects and their interactions with host plants, and painted these cycles in stunning works. Her work especially resonates with me because I raise several species of native moths; lunas, cecropias and others. In raising them, I have come to appreciate each stage: I started this activity because I loved the moths, but in raising them, came to appreciate each stage; the caterpillars in their various instars, and how they change so much, camouflaging in their brown-to-greening spring foliage environment, the intricate cocoons that they weave at just the right times, the exquisite adults that emerge and take flight, and then the precious pearly eggs that hatch into caterpillars, thus completing the cycle.
This show is a tribute to the life that surrounds us in its various forms and their stages. In addition to capturing subsequent stages of life cycles of both flora and fauna, I am happily indulging in exploring the life in local ecosystems: ponds, under rocks, and alpine, among others; and recreating parts of these complex systems in metals.
I fabricate my pieces out of Sterling silver, brass and copper sheet and wire. I add color with various paints, pigments and resins, as well as with fired glass enamels. I love that we are surrounded by such diverse and vibrant life and are actually connected to these fertile pools, as observers at least. The fact that all of this life surrounds us is somehow both miraculous and reasurring. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to both explore and celebrate this in my jewelry as a precious reminder that life, above all else, wants to live.