The “Identity” series is in response to “meeting” my father for the first time. I never met him while he was alive, but in meeting the people he knew during his burial at sea, I learned a lot about myself. I could finally see the missing puzzle pieces of my life through the stories about his personality, his motivations and his flaws. This “introduction” began a process of reflection and self-realization. This analysis also inspired me to carefully consider which parts or events of my life have shaped my identity and why.
I create art jewelry pieces reflective of events from my own story to show vulnerability and possibility at the same time. Each piece takes form in my mind from writings in my journal. It then makes its way into my sketchbook pages as symbols and shapes. I visualize the colors, textures, shapes and even the negative space before I start to work. My brain is very analytical, so I begin the process of design from a methodical angle. I analyze it like a puzzle and start fitting the pieces together; the materials, the colors, the shapes and the textures, until the piece represents the idea in my head or in my sketchbook.
I choose to use metals, wood, bone, feathers and lots of mixed materials in combination with traditional jewelry techniques in my work because I think they tell a more interesting story. The combination of colors and textures, natural or intentional, add to the plot. These elements ultimately translate into a story. For instance, my Heartbreak brooch is the tale of my heart after the first time I was disappointed by someone I trusted. The broken heart is made of wood to symbolize the hardening of my emotions after the experience. The sharpness of the porcupine quills on the heart are a metaphor for the constant poking that heartbreak had on my emotions for a long time. Although the acrylic is meant to be a window for the viewer to see the broken heart, it also serves as a barrier to the outside world for me. I can let someone in or keep them at a distance.
For me, exposing these dark, damaged or missing parts help me to grow and learn new things about myself and my art. With each piece I learn something new and add to the many facets of my identity in unexpected ways. I think the telling of my story through narrative jewelry is my way of connecting with the outside world.