During the month of September, I participated in a Ladies Who Launch incubator workshop facilitated by Rebecca Shapiro who founded Gallery Verno -- an innovative green art gallery. It was an amazing opportunity to have a group of women hear the vision for your business, and then watch them magnify, refine, and celebrate that voice.
The highlight of the month was the final evening where we gathered for warmth, delicious food, and parting thoughts. Rebecca gave each of us a photograph that symbolized our inner spirit. My photo of the Portland Japanese Garden -- a place where beauty waits around every corner -- is pictured above and is currently residing in a place of honor on my desk. Rebecca captured the essence of my art in her image and through the accompanying Haiku poem:
The shapeless water,
Can mould it in any shape,
But depth is its own.
Jyoti Sunit Chaundhary
For me, the world is a sensual layering of tactile experiences and this photograph captures that subtlety like when you stretch your hand out to caress moss on stone and feel rippling water run over your skin. I am deeply moved that Rebecca saw my jewelry design in relationship to this concept of water shaping itself.
From this intense workshop experience, I found that it's almost easier to have someone else describe your art then to do it yourself, and that's what happened when another fellow participant Genevieve Margherio -- an amazing creative mind and graphic designer -- distilled into one succinct paragraph what I dig most about my jewelry:
"Beth: My word for you is 'letterpress.' I have always loved the feeling of running my fingers over a piece of paper and feeling the indentations from the type. Your jewelry designs remind me of this feeling because they are flat and 3D at the same time, like paper that's been printed with a letterpress. Your method of creating your jewelry, like letterpress printing, is a unique an almost secret process, that not many people know about, much less how to do. And letterpress printing, like your focus on ancient art and archetypes, requires expansive knowledge of a tradition that is somewhat lost and mostly unknown to average contemporary people. You are a conveyor of beautiful, tactile things with rich histories to those of us who may have never experienced them otherwise."
Oh, thank you, thank you, Genevieve for connecting me to the letterpress! You really got it!! The beauty of embossed or impressed patterns and words on paper is at the root of my aesthetic, for what drew me to my first artistic love -- printmaking -- is the sensuality and mystery of paper's tactile nature and how it mimics the intimate act of touching and bonding with another person's skin.