My friend Jeanie and I have been talking about how to make adjustments in our lives and homes and work spaces so that we can spend as much time as possible doing what we love to do as we get older. Working with steel, it’s something Jeanie has really been thinking about, especially in the last year. I asked her to write a little bit about it, and here’s what she has to share:
I was never the kind of person who thought I had my life all figured out. We probably all know someone who had their life totally planned, who they would marry, how many kids they would have, where they would live, what they would do for a living…well, that was never me. My life has been a whirlwind of changes and moves and constant evolution. And while many (mostly my family) thought it was a bad thing, I now realize it is a very good thing because life can be unpredictable and it’s best if you can handle the unavoidable bumps in the road.
I wear two major hats: one is as an interior and architectural designer, mostly designing restaurants, and the rest of the time I’m an artist, welding steel wall sculpture. Last year I was getting ready for a gallery show when I broke my hand. I really thought it was the end of the world. I pushed through and finished as many pieces as I could, and the show went on. After the dust settled and I could catch my breath I started thinking that maybe this was a sign. After all, I was getting older, and maybe I had to figure out a way to keep doing what I love to do, being creative even when I’m 80, because I never want to stop making art.
About the same time, I had signed up for a clay class, thinking it would add some great texture to the steel. It really changed my life and sparked even more ideas. I found I loved carving into the clay, creating detailed tiles that I could attach to smaller pieces of metal as a background. It was a win-win because smaller pieces meant less weight. And like I said, I wasn’t getting any younger and the steel seemed to be getting heavier.
Then it occurred to me that I always thought of my art as wall adornment, so why not scale it down to fit on the body. I’ve always loved working with different kinds of metal and over the years have taken many jewelry classes. After all, jewelry is just another form of sculpture, and it’s no surprise that the clay has become an important part of my designs. So that’s what I’ve begun doing, adapting my work to fit my changing life style. And I guess that’s the point of this post, that change is inevitable, we move, we separate, we age, and we shed our skins. It’s all good. Just don’t stop doing what you love to do. They say creative people live longer and I sure hope they’re right; in fact, I’m positive they are.
You can see more of Jeanie’s work on her website and her blog, where you can see more images of her jewelry.
You might also enjoy Making Etched Metal Jewelry by Ruth Rae and Kristin Robinson.
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