To exist is to be. But what does that mean? To be what? How? Why? And you learn this isn’t so much as a Why. Just an Is. You make a life choice. You take responsibility for it. It shapes you, your values, your decision making, your directional compass, and prepares you for the next choice. And you become what you take responsibility for becoming next.
Through a very round-about way, I became a jewelry designer. It was nothing predestined. Not a requirement, an expectation or a goal. Something I fell into. Something I loved. So I kept making choices and taking responsibility for those choices to become a very literate, fluent, adaptable, successful jewelry designer.
To be is to exist. If I reverse this truism, then the perspective changes. The question, for me, eventually became What does it mean to exist as a jewelry designer. I think about that a lot. While I design each piece. While I make it. While I reflect on all the things I learned and experienced and tried and succeeded or failed along the way in order to design and make the piece I am working on.
And it’s become ever clearer to me that it is impossible to separate my life as a jewelry designer from all the other aspects of my life. To become the jewelry designer I am today, to have the insights and prescriptions for designing jewelry to be worn and bought by others, I have to understand my choices in the context of me as a whole person.
Each piece of jewelry results from the interplay of inspirations, desires and shared assumptions between designer and client. It channels emotions. Self-awareness. Self-esteem. Value. An intentional conformity or violation of cultural and social norms. Successful jewelry design depends a lot on my powers of empathy and my innate abilities to reflect and be aware of the implications which result from the choices I have made.
Jewelry, for me, has become an expression of personal identity and values. It relates to the human form, in fact, it uses its relationship to and placement on that human form to trigger conversations, instigate interactions, channel how people want others to relate to them or not. Jewelry explains emotions. It exploits them. It somehow comingles emotions with explanations.