Quiet Voices

You will not find any art school on my resume. Art is new to me. I spent most of my life among the loud voices and in a career on Wall Street. I never gave the quiet voices a second thought. Kill or be killed was my motto and I fought money demons every day, that and the traffic.

The TV has a loud voice. Facebook has a loud voice. Human political or social organizations have loud voices. Cast off jewelry and insects are two quiet voices, way in the background. The cast off jewelry represents to me our wastefulness. We can really churn through a lot of costume jewelry in our quest for stimulation or a louder voice resulting in a trail of waste measured in tons. My car, my rights, my independence. These are the loud voices that entitle us to our waste, to idle our cars in front of Dunkin’ Donuts or even for unlimited periods in our driveways. Our civilized survival is adequately packaged, inside another package. Nature has its loud voice, the storm. But most nature voices are quiet like the insect.

To manage my fears of environmental extinction, I tell my stories with old shoes and clothes, broken doll heads, food wrappers, jars and decanters. I’ve made a life sized man out of my own Trader Joes organic food packaging and a giant headed mournful man fully clothed in well worn plus sized pants and tweed jacket. But it’s the jewelry that’s my favorite medium. Not the carefully tended to gems and golds resting on the velvety interior of a proper jewelry box but the stuff you can buy on Ebay by the pound. The stuff whose next stop is the dumpster if no buyer claims it. That jewelry that someone wore to make their own voice louder and perhaps loved or argued with but for some reason is now separated from forever by death or neglect. That jewelry that gets delivered to me in postal service fixed rate boxes, packaged with the cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and whatever else was in the junk drawer, excites me with its quiet voice.

The cast off, rejected, junked jewelry is my pigment where I swirl rhinestones and chains to capture patterns I see in nature, especially the insects. Two quiet voices find each other. Jewelry, so beautiful even the cast off stuff. Insects, so weird and icky but intricate and purposeful. Jewelry cradles the alien beauty of the insects’ segmented abdomens, multitudinous legs, delicate wings. I imagine I’m giving the insect a stronger voice in our human world by recreating it in a voice we recognize. I research the natural insect in order to include the critical elements and to be true to its form. The jewelry draws the human viewer in for an intimate inspection. The wasp greets the viewer with a body made from rhinestones, herringbone chain and necklace pendants. I hope to join these two quiet voices, our cast offs and the insects representing the natural world, in order to be heard perhaps a little bit better, at least by me.