Thursday, September 25, 2008

Merry Go Round

Jump on our first merry go round and join a group of artists/crafts-women as they link hands around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

Today is the first day of our merry go round. I have joined with 8 other women who are artists or craft-women and once a month - on the last Thursday/Friday, we will all discuss one question in each of our blogs.

Once you've read what I have written, I encourage you to read their blog entries too - it is an interesting group of women and I'm looking forward to learning more about them too. The links are at the end of this posting. Please note - there are significant time differences between us all (I think the most is 15 hours!), so if you don't find the "merry go round" posting on someone's blog, maybe you are just a bit early do check back again later.

This month's question is "What was your journey to your art/craft?"

My journey started out with me working as a research scientist in England and now I'm an artist in California! Quite a convoluted path, I guess!

I think the main turning point came in California in 2003. We were moving from Florida to California - driving across country and I was trying to find something to while away all those hours in the car when I wouldn't be driving. I happened to find some interesting yarn and decided to take knitting up again. I had taught myself to knit when I was child and had enjoyed it then, but hadn't knitted since. Now I had these lovely balls of yarn - totally different to what I had seen or used before.

So for those long long days in the car with my husband and our pet parrot Harold, I knitted..and knitted..and listened to audio books..and tried to learn Spanish (I think Harold learned more than we did!!!) Anyhow, a couple of items I made were, of course, scarves. I then happened to be wearing one of these scarves when I went into a gallery in California and the owner commented on it and asked where I had got it from. I told her I made it and she said she would love to sell them for me. This was totally out of the blue. It had never occurred to me that I would sell anything...I had just been occupying my time. I went home and thought about it for a while.....and said yes and got out my needles!

The same thing happened in another gallery in Sonoma.....and while it seemed very much out of character for me - I was enjoying it. Somewhere in the middle of this excitement, I read an article about "metal clay" and it fascinated me. I decided to buy some and get a DVD on how to use it and give it a try. Off I went, started with a little pair of earrings with some stones set in them and I haven't looked back since. The galleries selling my scarves saw my jewelry and also wanted to sell that.....and I'd gone from scientist to artist!!

I no longer knit to sell - that had set me on my way in this new direction, but I now focus on my silver jewelry. I also no longer sell in galleries, just online and I enjoy that much more. And my jewelry has changed alot since those early I've taken classes, become certified, learnt traditional metalsmith techniques and fabrication skills....

The two key elements that I loved about my research job were that there was a lot of variety and plenty of challenge. I have found the same in using metal clay. It is a great medium and I like to try new things with it and create a style that is unique.

I particularly love doing three dimensional sculptural pieces and also pieces that move. Bubo the flying owl seen in the 2nd photo is one of my favourites, as he has movement and an element of surprise. When you pull on the chain, his wings go up and flap, like he is trying to fly. This "playfulness" and whimsy is apparent in alot of my work.....but yesterday I just finished a three day "action jewelry" class and now want to re-model Bubo to tweak the mechanism a little I learn new things and keep progressing and so my jewelry develops and I don't get bored.

Another of my favourite pieces is my new series of "anyone can...." jewellery. I had been trying to come up with a "figure" to use for a few designs and then "anyone was born. I like this series because it seems to easily fulfill my goal that what I create " makes you smile". Again there is there sense of play and childhood memories......and they are all also very tactile pieces, you find yourself wanting to hold them.

But also, maybe "anyone can" fitting for me. Any-one/scientist can become an artist??????Maybe that sense of "give it a try" is what brought about this dramatic change from scientist to artist??? And where will it lead next?

Here are the links to read the other artists' blogs:

And remember - it's always great to get comments!


'fancypicnic' said...

Wonderful! Your jewellery is so pretty. And a bilingual parrot! Brilliant!

Lily Pang said...

Ruth, your silver jewelry is very modern, neat and has symmetrical beauty. They looked like from scientist hands.

I am very glad that I read your journey!

Marian said...

Give it a try indeed.... it is fun to jump into a new pool... completely unaware of where the future will lead you, but in the meantime the fun is such, one doesnt care!!!

What kind of research did you use to do? what field I mean?

meherio68 said...

Thank you for initiating this!
I enjoyed writing up my own answer (reminiscing, you know...), but I enjoyed even more reading everyone else's!
Your "road movie" is particularly inspiring!

Easterya said...

Fantastic story, from scientist to sculptor of tiny treasures! And what might Harold's new hobby be, now he's bilingual? :)

Ruth said...

Thanks for your comments. I've really enjoyed reading other people's journeys....And yes, you have shamed me into it - I really should continue with Harold's Spanish lessons!!

Half an Acre said...

i always enjoy your posts - and this one especially as now I know more about you!
I've just added mine now - sorry its so late!

Sara's Texture Crafts said...

I've really enjoyed reading how you started out... thanks for coming up with this merry go round idea... love it!
Sara x