All, I have been thinking about this one for a long time but never
seem to have time to sit and write it down. The thread concerning
books for learning how to draw jewelry renewed my desire to write on
this subject and, well, my wife is gone on a long trip and I seem to
have a lot of time after I get the kiddies in bed so here it is.
There are a lot of things that bring us inspiration. I think that
it would be helpful to hear from others where our inspiration comes
from and what inspired or influenced us the most in our art.
Especially those things that inspired us that are not jewelry
For example two things really helped me to get me where I am today.
The first is a book called "Drawing on the right side of the brain"
by Betty Edwards. This book isn’t just a text on how to draw, it
describes creativity and explains where it comes from, or at least
from what part of the brain it comes from. The exercises in it
really helped me to do more than learn how to draw, it taught me how
to “see.” The author relates in the book how different “seeing” is
from merely “looking” and what that means to someone who is trying
to draw and create art. Her explanations took me back to the first
time I really “saw” a ring. It was like I had accessed a part of my
brain that had never been opened to the light of day. I always felt
a great joy in that moment but also a little bit of embarrassment.
Before I read her book I could never properly explain it to others
and most people, except for the artists, just looked at me like I
had two heads.
So, I recommend the book for those who don’t just want to learn to
draw jewelry but want to learn how to draw anything and everything.
I discoed that the exercise of drawing is to creativity what weight
training is to athletes. You just must do it to stay in top shape.
The other thing that really influenced me was my study of bonsai,
the art of growing miniature trees in shallow pots. I’ve never had
formal art training and my art education really ended when my public
school stopped requiring it. So, even though I’ve made jewelry my
whole life, my concept of composition for the years prior to about
1982 was pretty abysmal. With bonsai you need to create a feeling
of life and character from pretty static materials. The books I
studied taught me about balance, form, texture, composition and
movement (as well as patience). It was amazing to me that I could
make a relatively static tree in a pot look like it had movement. I
could make a small and fragile plant look solid and a young tree I
just purchased from a garden center look ancient and withered.
Nowadays I don’t do bonsai. I have applied what I learned in that
field to jewelry design, which I found to be a lot more satisfying
(plus I didn’t have to remember to water my jewelry every day or
find someone to do it for me when I was on vacation). But what I
learned from it will be with me forever.
I’d love to offer recommendations about the best bonsai books, but
honestly I got most of my learnin’ from books at my public library.
That is a pretty good place to start because most books on bonsai
aren’t just texts but are fairly large art books with great pictures
of extremely old trees and so were too expensive for me to buy.
Anyone else care to share personal areas of inspiration/influence
and more importantly, how these might help us to create more,
beautiful jewelry? The less jewelry specific the subjects are the
more fascinating, as far as I’m concerned. I’d love to find a new
field of study that will enhance my creativity and open up new ways
of thinking by giving me an alternative, but perhaps parallel, trail
toward making new jewelry.