My tendency is to come up with a very lofty concept, sometimes comedically so, and go from there (the irony of this is that in art school “Conceptual Drawing” was my weakest class). This time around my original inspirations were going to be: alchemy, the art of memory (ars memorativa) and the cabinet of curiosities, or Wunderkammer. Soon into sketching I realized that the first two topics were far too vast for me to truly do them justice right now. As for the curiosities, I discovered three other jewelry designers who had just released collections with that name- clearly there was something in the air for all of us.
So, I decided to just start making pieces and find their interconnectedness as I went along.
The first design that emerged is a ring featuring a chrysanthemum blossom perched upon an Art Nouveau inspired shank. From the chrysanthemum came a starburst design, which led to a cicada, which brought me to a stylized trail of smoke. You get the idea.
As I sat back and looked at all the motifs that were emerging I thought, “I know they are connected, but how?”
I soon discovered two things: almost every design idea that I’ve been enthralled with lately was a significant motif in the Aesthetic Movement of the late 1800’s, and the primary source of my inspiration was right in front of me. Literally.
I purchased a beautiful, old mirror years ago at an antiques store right by the Conowingo Dam in Maryland. The mirror is covered with traditional Art Nouveau details: a beautiful woman with flowing hair, carnations and an undulating whiplash line. I’m not sure what material it is made out of, but it has practically turned black(despite my attempts at polishing) and the mirror itself has clouded over lending a mysterious, smoky quality.
I have the mirror out near my bench and glance at it countless times throughout the day, but it never truly registered as to what I was looking at.
People have different facets to their personalities, and so do objects. Suddenly you see something at a different angle and your whole perception changes. “Smoke and Mirrors” quickly became the perfect name and subject for my collection. Inspiration truly is everywhere if you’re paying attention.