Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some questions about jewelry

The questions I keep coming back to are:

Why put text on jewelry?
How can text work harmoniously with jewelry?
How can I balance the needs of good jewelry with the needs of good calligraphy? (For example, need for daintyness vs. need for space to write a meaningful stretch of text)
What sorts of texts are appropriate? How far can it be pushed? What doesn't work and why?

There are layers of interrelationships: between the text and the text's writer (who wrote it and what they meant), myself and the piece (why I chose a text and put it in a particular form), the piece and the wearer (what it means to them) and the piece/wearer and the viewer (what someone viewing someone wearing a piece thinks it means for that person to wear that piece of jewelry, made by me, with a certain text on it). How can these interrelationships be made to work harmoniously? Should I be equally concerned with all of them? Are there more that I haven't thought of?

None of these are a second-guessing of my task (the first question might come across that way), but they are not; they help me do what I do. I have not yet made that piece that is the culmination of all these things, but I hope that someday, I will.

All of the above have to do with how I implement text on jewelry. There's a bigger question, sort of the research question for my body of work: I believe the function of jewelry is first to allow the wearer to express their identity. Usually this means a gendered identity: it makes you look pretty in some way consonant with your social class and values. So jewelry is a tool of communication. What else can it communicate? What other aspects of identity can it express? What are the limits of this? And back to my earlier question: how can text be employed in this?

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