I have gotten brave, and am exhibiting ten pieces of jewelry in this year’s Boskone art show. There’s a Flickr set of the individual pieces. The photography isn’t brilliant, but it should give you some idea.
This partly grew out of compulsion that somehow settled on me a while back: to make a rosary for Charles Darwin out of fossils. It helped that so many commonly available semiprecious stone beads are made of fossil material. I wound up making two rosaries, which turned out to be surprisingly pretty, and will probably make more. Next time around, though, I have got to get my hands on a usable trilobite.
My favorite moment so far was when I had a package containing the interior casts of turritella snails shipped to Patrick’s office, and the woman who sold them to me sent along a charming note saying “OMG you work at Tor! I love your books!” Fossils and science fiction: clearly, a member of our tribe.
The other compulsion is harder to explain. It has its roots in a series of obscure incidents that left me in possession of more than a thousand small stone bears, worked in all kinds of odd material. Like, I’ve got cacoxenite bears, and lepidolite bears, and bears I can’t begin to identify. (Not objecting. Seriously not objecting.) When I started working with them, I discovered that bears have opinions. They have narrative. You find yourself making eight-foot-long necklaces with strange names and properties.
At that point it becomes clear that one has strayed out of respectable craft and into art. I figure it’s like walking the dog. Every so often, you have to let your art out of the house (albeit on a leash) so it can sniff the air, bark at stuff it doesn’t recognize, and spend a while hanging around with other art.