This week's blog was written by mosaic jewelry artist, June Martin of Moth & Twig. June discusses her observations around finding her voice as an artist.
I admit to a guilty pleasure. Project Runway! What does Project Runway have to do with this week’s blog you ask? If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll recognize Heidi Klum exclaiming, “I don’t know who you are yet as a designer!” Or, “I knew it was you when it walked down the runway.” That got me to thinking. Is my voice as an artist apparent? This is something I’ve struggled with over the years because, to be honest, I think I have two voices. Let me explain.
I like clean lines; bold, saturated, complicated colors and interesting geometric patterns. Perhaps this is why I’m drawn to mosaic. I can manipulate materials and transform them into patterns and shapes that please my mind.
But I also love a rustic, bohemian vibe. I believe this to be a sharp contrast to my love for bold and graphic. I love both styles equally. These styles are reflected in my home environment as well.
Before mosaics, I used to spend inordinate amounts of time “playing” with my living spaces. I’ve lived in a number of unconventional abodes over the years. I love creating unique, vibrant living spaces. Clean lines, bold colors, interspersed with rustic and unusual curiosities. I currently live in a small 100 year-old Cape Cod house/loft. I’ve kept many of the original features of the house, in particular the amazing, though highly inefficient windows in the living and dining rooms. My orange mid-century modern sofa looks great next to the antique windows. My antique rustic seven-foot farm table looks smashing with the Eames-like molded plywood dining chairs. Don’t get me started on my chartreuse library/music room, which features a rustic potbelly stove, antique Gabbeh rug, and modern black umbrella chairs; perfect for cocooning into with a glass of red on a cold winter’s night. I have a voice; it’s just shared between two camps.
At a recent show, my booth featured bold pieces, which were mixed in with my rustic, natural pieces. I don’t have as many bold pieces due to the complexity and length of time it takes to create them. At this show, a gentleman from Texas was sifting through various pieces on display. He gravitated towards a piece that I made a while ago; a small square pendant made from dark stained glass and acid green mosaic gold! Yes! Acid green mosaic gold! A stunning material that I use sparingly due to the cost. The pendant was bold and graphic but was set into an antique pewter base so it shared elements of rustic and bold. It spoke to him so he joyously bought it as a birthday present for himself. He then gravitated towards a piece I had made for a gallery show. It was a very labor-intensive pendant that I was quite fond of. I told myself that if it didn’t sell at this show, it was mine. Well, it’s in Texas now, as well as five other pieces he was drawn to. I couldn’t be happier. He appreciates my work, so for me, that’s a win-win as they say. I joked around with him about how he was zeroing in on my favorite, though not as popular pieces. We connected. He also purchased a rustic style bracelet. I was sad to see some of them go but very happy to see them go home with him. It was nice to see both of my voices could be appreciated by the same person. I guess it’s ok to have more than one voice.