I was originally going to title this post “Abstract Concepts and Jewelry”; just typing that I can hear the sound of crickets and peoples’ eyes rolling back in their heads from boredom.A year or two ago I was working at my bench when a thought suddenly struck me, “Why do I rarely see abstract concepts expressed in jewelry, yet see them conveyed regularly in almost every other visual medium?” (Please stay with me on this). I was thinking of ‘love’ in particular. There are numerous non-representational paintings and sculptures that convey a sense of love, yet to express this in jewelry I normally see the word stamped into the metal or the use of a heart motif.
I wouldn’t presume to tackle something like love, but another concept came to me: spiritual energy. I had just read Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon by Peter Washington ( a wonderful book describing many of the spiritual groups and beliefs that emerged from the nineteenth century), when I began to wonder if I could convey a sense of spiritual energy, or the idea of spirits gathering around us, in my work.
What evolved from this experiment are two pieces; a ring and a pendant. I chose a spiral motif because it is such an ancient symbol and also has a sense of movement to it. The ring is titled “Gathering Spirits” and illustrates just that: a multitude of spirals undulating around the wearer’s finger. The pendant is a little more out there. Because of Madame Blavatsky, I began to imagine what I would see if I looked down into a crystal ball. The pendant shows this view: a turquoise cabochon with spiral
s swirling around it.
To be very honest, while I created pieces I’m happy with, I’m not sure how successful I was in conveying “Spiritual Energy”. I’m sure this is an idea I will be tackling for many years to come.
This brings me back to my original question: Why is it so difficult to convey abstract thought in jewelry?
I don’t have the answer, but I would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the subject.