I don't think I showed you this ring after I bought it in Santa Fe on my Hummingbird trip. I bought in on the Plaza, directly from the dude who made it. In the thousands of pieces of jewelry I looked at, this green stone called out to me. I like the nonspecific shape and the color. I bought the earrings yesterday at the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts in Bloomington. Lots of "mixed media" artists and, as usual, TONS of pottery or ceramics or whatever the correct term is for that stuff that breaks easily. There were also several jewelers/metalsmiths. I bought these earrings from BJ Watson. They are steel. I saw them in the case and I knew I wanted them. They are my little gift to myself to remember this crazy time of book-writing, art-making and kid-raising. They are also very art-teachery. They remind me of Paul Klee.
In July of 2005, I took that jewelry making class from Thomas Mann at Arrowmont. He talked a lot about how hard it is to make it making art, about how hard he has had to work to build his business in New Orleans and gave us tons of practical advice. In August, 2005, Katrina hit New Orleans and we all know how much damage that did. Thomas Mann's studio and gallery sustained some damage, but was, for the most part, okay. But the rest of the city was so wrecked that he took a pretty good hit anyway. How can you have a business without electricity? How can you have a retail establishment and gallery without customers? I know he wasn't alone. Many other artists in New Orleans suffered even greater losses. When disaster strikes, saving life and limb is, of course, the most important thing. Then resources turn to food, shelter, clothing, water and other utilities. Then, the streets and buildings and homes. Helping artists and craftspoeple rebuild galleries, bodies of work - their lives is pretty far down the list. I cannot, and do not wish to, imagine the heartbreak of losing a lifetime of work and perhaps the tools and space needed to make it. So I try to do my part, at the very least in spirit.
okay...I'm stepping down from the soapbox now