One of the aspects of my work that I frequently talk with people about is texture, so I thought I’d share a bit about it here.
I love the tactile adventures of different surfaces and texture combinations. I was “that kid” growing up: the kid who was frequently touching all the things in the shops, exploring the sensations of sweaters or corduroy or silk scarves (even the carpet on occasion, to my mother’s dismay). The mannequins and counter tops: how they felt smoother or grippier or warmer or cooler than the glass and metal of the lit displays. I was always intrigued when something did NOT feel like what I was expecting, and weirdly reassured when they DID meet expectations (unless I’d been finding tons of things that did not feel the way they looked – then I was sometimes disappointed when something did match up. I was a kid…kids can be weird, it’s totally normal).
I was also the kid who gleefully walked home with her grandfather, each with pockets FULL of small pebbles and stones. We’d carefully pull our treasure troves out and lay them on the table or counter, and then excitedly explore them together – sizing, colour, sparkle factor, weight, texture. We’d find different ways to arrange them – colour order, smallest to largest, etc, but often we’d organise them by feel(apparently it runs in the family…)
To me, the texture of a piece of jewelry is every bit as important as the colour palette, the shape, weight, or any other design element. I love exploring textures in my work. Porcelain polished to varying degrees of smoothness: sometimes velvety, sometimes like satin or a nearly glassy sheen. Many pieces I polish by hand, starting at 200 grit and working up through jeweler’s polishing papers of 8000 grit and higher depending on what surface I’m aiming for. Sometimes I wear away with a mechanical device, to see what secrets are beneath the surface of a perfect glaze. These can be rotary like a dremmel, or stone polisher, or it can be one of a variety of tumblers like used for lapidary work. All of these combine and bring me great adventures, intrigue, excitements to feed my curiosity and wonder. They also combine to create the unique finishes of the pieces in my various collections that I bring forth. I love the process of experimentation - and did I mention seeing the secrets that live beneath those shiny and matte surfaces? I look forward to exploring sandblasting in the future, as well.
I’ve been asked if there are things I won’t use texture-wise. I don’t care for rough things. I never have, honestly. Or scratchy. So a piece can look really amazing and inviting, but if it feels like sandpaper, well – I’m not going to want to wear that, and since I don’t sell things I won’t wear, it goes “back to the lab” for more experimentation. I also seek out that soothing sensation. I fidget with my jewelry throughout the day. It’s a great physical way to bring me back to the present, the here and now. Some of the best messages I got from people in the community in 2020 were about how they were really loving the textures of the pieces they’d purchased or been gifted, talking about the calming feeling of rubbing the pieces, of feeling pearls roll in the porcelain rings, the gentle weight of a pendant, the warmth the piece absorbed throughout the day. That tactile experience that brought them down out of the rafters and up out of the pits. That memory of being connected to another person, be it the gifter, someone they admire that the piece reminds them of, or in a couple on instances, friends who were wearing my work and supporting my explorations.
May we all enjoy a variety of textures as we move through this adventure called “Life.”