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Sacred Jewelry

Friends and kindred Souls…

As I sit here in a little town in Pensylvania, U.S.A. and read my
email, I am often amazed at the accomplishments made by the many and
varied artists of the Ganoksin group. I have visited dozens of your
web sites and admired the spectacular designs and marveled at the
amazing techniques and skills represented here. I scan my monthly
Lapidary Journal and visit trade shows and literally get “high” on the
outstanding creativity that I see from all parts of the world.
Recently I had the honor of visiting Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum for
the Fourth Annual Gem and Mineral Show and was able to touch and
"feel" the work of such great carvers, intarsia workers and gemstone
designers as Nicolai Meduedev, Gil Roberts, Michael Christie, Susan
Allen and Slava Tulupov. Upon returning home to my humble workshop it
was easy to feel insignificant and small in comparison to those who
focus so much power and concentration into each “miracle of art” that
they make. But then I began to examine why and how i began making my
personal style of wire jewelry. Early on, I decided to make “sacred
jewelry” to honor the great Creator from where all our inspiring ideas
come. I try to keep in mind the amazing coincidence that brings a
rock from a cave in Madagascar to my grinding wheel, and I try to be
thankful for the many hours in the hot sun that miners spend (for
thirty cents a day) so that I might receive a stone that the Earth
spent millions of years forming. I try to respect each stone and view
it as a miniature packet of energy presented to me so that I might
fashion it into some small work of art that will put a smile on
someone’s face, provide a few moments of communication between two
souls and hopefully provide a few dollars for the growth of my family.

I would like to know how many of you view your work as "sacred art"
also. Would any of you mind sharing a brief view on this aspect of
jewelry making. I am curious how many of you use sacred numbers and
symbols in your work or if you might instill a certain property into
your work through prayer. (I suspect there are many of you who find
this important although it is not often mentioned in the “artist
statement” )

Sincerely, Dale Lee Rozdale Designs

Hello Dale: When I entered graduate school, my head was swimming with
the iconography of the cabalists. And that changed considerably, for
after 3 years of involvement with the images of hermetic and
alchemical traditions, I came finally upon the heart of the matter in
the works of James Hillman, a depth psychologist who took Jung’s work
out of the clinical setting and into the community and the culture.
By the time I put up my graduate “in lieu of thesis” exhibit, I had
found the title for it. “Ritual, Process, Integration” was my choice.
I had learned that there is a critical distinction to be made between
"spirit" and “soul”. And when I understood that difference, my work
reached new depths of expression. It also scared the hell out of me
some times. The whole experience was an unexpected personal journey
and I will never be the same. Of this I am truly grateful. But I
believe in something like a Bodhisattva model for an artist. After
the journey inward, start looking around you. I’ll refrain from
providing a booklist (you should write your own!), but any of you with
an interest might look into Hillman’s work, “A Blue Fire”. May you
value and find meaning in your life’s work, even when it’s painful.
Plan it all you like, but be prepared to endure the unexpected.

David L. Huffman

I feel that every stone is a gift. I don’t pray over them or put in
sacred symbols on them. I let each stone shape its own place. Although
I have had to follow customer’s ideas in the past (with occasional
winces) when I can look at a stone or at a piece of jewelry and dream,
I find that the piece shapes itself. I then make a sketch of the idea
from several angles and “remove the unneeded wax” from there I turn it
over to the casters and jewelers I trust.

Some pieces I have designed are nothing like I would choose to wear,
but they are right for the stone and bring out the shapes I see there.
I think it is more a sacred trust for the jewelry designer to find
that right piece and that right stone to bring out beauty and the only
sin in the trade is failing to bring or show the beauty. One of the
hardest pieces for me right now is an opal. When I picked up the stone
at a local show the light hit it just right and I could see the swirls
of color formed a perfect orchid blossom. Now I have to find the right
setting for the stone so that everyone can see the pastel flower in
the otherwise common white base opal. If I can’t do it I will not set
the stone, but wait until a proper vision strikes.

Alicia Miller
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of
thought which they seldom use." - Soeren Kierkegaard

I have seen your site before and love your wirewrapped angels. Being
primarily a wirewrapper with some jewelers training I also appreciate
what you do with the settings for your other stones. The stone is
always the focal point of your jewelry and the setting enhances it,
and the piece - setting and stone - becomes “whole.” I had a friend
who was American Indian and told me to let the stone tell me what it
wanted. He would set a stone on his bench and ask it to tell him what
to do, and then just leave it. Sometimes for several years. Then the
inspiration would come and the design would flow. The gem carvers in
Germany do the same thing. Your opal will let you know when the time
is right. Dee Garza the Leavenworth, Indiana (not Kansas) Wire
Artist Jeweler - who is still trying to find out where I lost the web
site I was working on


I thought it appropriate to forward a quote from Lynn V. Andrews, The
Power Deck:

“If you do not believe in magic, your life will not be magical.
Magic, like the power of Stonehenge, is part of the unknowable –
that which you cannot describe, but which exists and makes your life
extraordinary. It is part of the goodness of your spirit. It is that
mysterious and intriguing part of your spiritual life. Magic is what
we are all looking for, but if you try to hold it and name it and
describe it, you will lose it. You must talk around magic, describe
what led you there, and give thanks for that part of the universe
that is unknowable and full of color and strength and magic. Out of
relationship comes magic. Out of the friction of forgetting and
remembering comes magic. Out of the mists of dawn and the mysteries
of creation comes the magic that we call life. Out of your passion
for existence comes magic.”

I feel that it is important for everyone to make art, not just
"artists." It is the way that we communicate with the Mystery. It may
be the most important thing we do.

“Let the beauty you love be what you do…” Rumi

Doug Zaruba