After designing the Phoenix Head piece (now an amulet and brooch) I wanted to expand the motif to a necklace. I carved a series of six flames: each a tongue of fire, each holding loops at each end to be joined into a chain. The result was very interesting: after assembly the feel of the chain as it glides over the hand gives the allusion more of water than fire: smooth and silky.
After attaching it to the phoenix, I then developed the flame sprite from the chain, laying down the links and seeing what was being suggested. The flame sprite was one of my first “free form” pieces: instead of the normal process of sketching out drawings and mulling over design, I simply took up wax and carved her.
I also experimented with earrings and bracelets with the flame chain. Each time I worked with the links they suggested even more ideas. Years later I saw that the links could be modified into tiny sprites and thus the Pixie Flame Chain was born. I took the separate links and worked the design into tiny figures of the sprites, sizzling and extruding from fire. Again, no sketches were developed before carving: and I didn’t use “carving wax”; I used simple soft injection was – something that the “jewelry industry” frowns upon.
Most of my training I received in art was through my family: both of my Parents were educators in the Humanities: both trained musicians, scholars and in the case of my Mother: artist. One of the more pragmatic approaches I was taught was “what ever works: works”. Even though I follow the formula as taught in “old school” art (first you create a series of renderings and examine the concepts and then re-create drawings that work out details and over come obstacles), there are times when the wave of inspiration catches you and you ride it until you are done. It is often so with sculpting. One learns to “think with your hands” in the creation of art.
One finds this in all the arts, music is the same way: the basic melody or rhythm sets a foundation and the process of working the pattern with your hands will then yield new and interesting ways to develop design. I have found that switching media helps me to develop new ideas that would not occur to me otherwise.
One way to circumvent this obstacle is to develop several works in different media at the same time: imagery seems (at least for me) to require sound and touch to manifest completely: I listen to music and stories while I sculpt; I play the piano to think about shapes. I also use time to set aside one project and work on another, all the while the incubation process continues while I go for a walk or talk to a friend.
Art itself is a way of life: continually developing shapes, colors and sounds that amplify each project, developing hybrids of expression; forming experience into tactile objects, sounds from inspiration that in turn inspire.
I love the Flame Sprite necklace, it is such a beautiful piece. I really enjoyed this Merlin blog, your words are as much an inspiration as your art. Keep up the the great work!