Monday, July 10, 2017

Inspiration and Synchonicity

…when jewelry has a life of its own….

Does the idea come first like a light bulb illuminating in my brain or is there something I see which triggers a familiarity upon which I can expand? I am tempted to say that things just happen: Do they roll and stand up to get attention or spring like a sprout from the fertile ground
I tread?

I was given this Labradorite Cabochon stone from a friend. As I touched it's smooth surface, I rolled it over in my hand and put it back into my stone box, I was struck by the color and luminosity it possessed in different lighting. There was an iridescent blue that reminded me of
the pink and turquoise blue of a sunset by the ocean. I had just moved and ended a disappointing relationship that was tumultuous and mean. I was alone somewhat happily yet I could only feel the fear. I was thankful that the new place came with a bed that was not only
comfortable but enabled me to lay my head upon the pillow and gaze into the treetops and see the sky. I forced myself to breathe long deep breaths even though my heart was beating in my chest and my phone was blowing up with abominable texts from my ex.

While I laid on the bed, out of the corner of my eye I saw the brown paper wrapping with string around a small painting, waiting to be unpacked and hung. I had collected so much art over the years but now most of it sat in storage. Through the years I'd become increasingly uncommitted regarding this collection. While I loved every piece of art I owned, I didn't want anything hanging on my walls anymore. I wanted my mind to be free so I could dance with my own ideas, unhindered by someone else's.

"I should hang that painting", I whispered to myself. Three months later, the package still sat by my nightstand. It had been moved endlessly around my tiny bedroom because it seemed to be constantly in the way. I loved that painting; it had been given to me by a friend on my birthday 6 years ago. I like to look at its colors because it made me feel like I could fly into its night sky and lose myself into the cobalt blue and sherbet-colored sunset. I could lay atop that small hill and watch the sun disappear over the horizon.

I hadn't been able to work since I moved because the displacement had been so abrupt and brutal. I could only cry because I felt broken and lost. I've never been unable to work in the sanctuary of my studio, not ever. The dry period was long, until September when production for
the holidays was upon me. I felt empty and dry. Coming down the stairs from my bedroom one morning I tripped on the edge of the brown paper and the painting fell down the 5 stairs with me after it. We both arrived on the landing somewhat shaken and disheveled, but all in tact. I sat
there stunned and slowly unwrapped the painting. I ran my fingers over the gilded gold frame and let the colors wash over me. I immediately hung it at the foot of my bed where I could gaze upon the tree tops through my window and then lose myself into the colors of the sunset
painting. Or was it sunrise?

I sat in front of my stone boxes and opened them one by one, wishing that inspiration would find me like water in stream rippling over the rocks with diamond reflections. The Labradorite found its way into my hand again and I wanted to catch the clouds that reflected in the streams of my memory. That beautiful stone was the painting at the foot of my bed as much as it was a cool glass of water from the well to quench my thirst. It came from the earth and it whispered to the blue in my soul while I set it into a ring.

But the journey of this ring had just begun....

from Michele Zalopany (click on her name to access her website)

Barb and I have been dear friends since we attended the Cleveland Institute of Art. We each followed our own trajectories that began at CIA. Through the following decades we both worked hard at our lifes’ work; for Barb it was jewelry, and for me, it was painting and drawing.
A few months ago, I saw the ring in a post that Barb had put on Instagram (@barbaraklar). The elaborate silver setting held a large
oval Labradorite stone. The setting was like an exaggerated contemporary version of a Victorian gothic cocktail ring. The 19c, with its confluence of colonialism, photography and Darwin has been a source of study and fascination for me. There was just something about that ring that struck me in a profound way like no piece of jewelry ever had.For years, I have been studying and researching colonialism worldwide, but Hawai’i, in particular. The earliest ethnographic photographs of Hawai’i are the foundation of my paintings. Being part native Hawaiian, I am fascinated by some of the faces of the women before miscegenation; they were a far cry from the brown-tinted, Caucasian-featured hula hula girls, used to promote the tourist industry, especially beginning in the 1920’s.

That ring reminded me, very profoundly, of Hawai’i…the sea and the

Shortly after I purchased the ring, I attended a transcendental event with acsmall group of people. Under the guidance of a trained facilitator, various psychedelic plants are administered to each person based on their experience and intent. My intent was to be able to work through a difficult period with my partner, and to have some breakthrough in my work. After a gut-wrenching, powerful-on-many-levels night, we all got together in the morning, to talk about our experiences. The next step was to integrate our experiences with the plants, in our daily lives. This made perfect sense to me on a very rational level. Little did I know or expect some of the irrational and poignant synchronicities that would occur.

Just before the journey, I had been commissioned to make a large vertical painting for a private residence. The subject matter had been decided: two pearl divers. I had nearly finished the divers, but was having a very difficult time determining the configuration and colors of the water into which they were diving, which comprised nearly 2/3 of the entire painting.

I’ve had insomnia for a while now and wake up several times a night
completely pie-eyed. A few days after the journey, I woke up at 2:14am,
and went into the living area to have a cigarette. I had a conspicuous thought that seemingly came out of the blue…the ring, it's light and it's color would be the ground of the painting! The next day, I painted the remaining white canvas with the image of the sea, rock and sky depicted in the ring with a big brush and watercolor. It freed me up from my usual tightly controlled rendering. It offered an infinity of possibilities, and most of all, I was energized and stimulated!

I completed the commission. The client was pleased, and so was I.

*healing properties of Labradorite
A stone of transformation, Labradorite is a useful
companion through change, imparting strength and
perseverance. It balances and protects the aura, raises
consciousness and grounds spiritual energies. Excellent
for strengthening intuition - promoting psychic abilities.