One of my goals for this year was to have a better focus for my design work. I used to just make what came to my head, skipping across techniques and styles. It was interesting and fun, but I felt the lack of a clear direction and of an unifying principle.
I began by spreading out all my current work and really looking at it - what do the piece have in common, what are their differences? What do I want to develop further, what have given me what they had to give?
I rearranged them, grouped them, separated them, got them back together until I could see ideas gelling. All those disparate pieces began to talk to one another and to form groups. Finally, my body of work made sense to me.
I also wanted to have an overall theme, which could be broken down to describe each line and to guide its development. I thought of using technique as a grouping principle, but I decided that was too limiting. The same outlines and ideas can be developed in different techniques and I wanted the design to lead, not the technique. I tried out using seasons or the elements. My work could fit in those categories, thematically, and I could tie it with the direction I wanted to go. But, in the end, I discarded this as well. Both of these have a limited number of subcategories (spring, summer, autumn, winter; water, fire, earth and air). What would I do when a new line came up? I don't want to discard the categorization scheme soon and these would feel restrictive in the near future.
I won't bore you with all my ideas that didn't pan out. In the end, I chose to use a mythological scheme. Mythology deals with archetypes, with the broad ideas and feelings of humankind. Surely that was a scope broad enough for me to hang all my artistic development on! I am using Greek mythology, but perhaps other cultures will show up some day. The pantheon was chosen for the principles it embodies, not from a cultural or aesthetic point of view.
So, without fanfare, here are my current lines:
Athena - goddess of wisdom, justice, etc, etc. She was also the sponsor of domestic arts, specially weaving. Here, you will find my woven, braided and knit pieces.
Hephaestus - the smith god, patron of artisans, craftsmen, blacksmiths, metals and metallurgy. Surely I had to include him! Under his auspices, you will find my forged and fused pieces.
Hera - many people have asked me why I didn't choose Aphrodite for my wedding jewelry. Aphrodite was a goddess of passionate love, often destructive and violent. Hera was responsible for happy, long lasting marriage, for children and family life. She also got the short end of the historical stick, but that is a story for another post.
Persephone - the lady of spring, vegetation and plant fertility. I took the liberty of expanding her domain a little and including some animals as well.
Minimalism - ok, not mythological, I admit. But these pieces have a distinct, minimalist look of their own and I certainly intend to continue to develop this line. There is something fascinating about distilling a design to its most basic lines.
Can you tell I love mythology? Yeah, just a little. The next posts will go into more detail into each of my patrons and what they represent.