Playfully designed, meaningfully made

I am always looking at the sky. Looking at the clouds and getting lost on the breeze. Looking at the stars and wondering how people came up with their stories about the constellations. Looking at the moon and being awed at the connection to the past that is right there in front of us. 

Everytime I look at a clear mountain sky I am always amazed that people saw shapes and patterns in the millions of stars.  I look up and am overwhelmed at the depth and vastness. It goes on and on, and I am lost for words, transported to a time different than this that is somehow the same.

 Playfully Designed

starry night designs next to popillia designs

The Starry Night collection came about in much the same way all of my collections do. No thoughts in my head, just playing with the things I had in front of me. I was actually trying to finish up the Popillia collection. I was designing earrings that were supposed to be show stoppers. But they didn't quite fit with the rest of the pieces I had already finished. So I sat at my bench, arranging and rearranging the tourmaline and rutilated quartz I had while letting my mind wander. I didn't have any intention of starting a new project, but I was stuck. How could I make these pieces fit with Popillia when they so clearly didn't?

This is how most of my design process works. Rarely do I start with finished pieces in mind. No thoughts. Only hammer and saw. I will sit and move elements around until something clicks in my head, or until I decide I have procrastinated long enough and get back to the task at hand. 

So as I was arranging the remnants from Popillia, letting my mind wander, finding that flow state, I wasn't shocked when that *click* happened. I was excited. I saw something starting to take shape, and I knew this would be my next collection. I "designed" (played) 2 or 3 pieces right then with what I had. I took the stones, lying on a steel block out to my sister with a grin and told her that I was making constellations. She knows my process well enough by now that she could clearly see what it was that I saw.

Shopping with Purpose

I went to the September gem show with a plan. I knew I was getting sapphires from

the first starry night designs

Discovery Gems. And I knew I was getting cabochons to complement the rutilated quartz and tourmaline I already had. I went in knowing the collection I was creating, and it is the first time ever that I did not buy anything superfluous. I was designing as I picked through cabs, thinking only about the constellations I was going to be making. I came home with pink and green and paraiba tourmaline, moonstone, and the most gorgeous sapphires. I arranged them on a card and was honestly a little stunned at my restraint and follow through.

My design process is an everyday reminder of how important play is. Without it I would not continue to grow as a person, or as an artist.