Sustaining the Arts

“The artist’s vocation is to send light into the human heart.” ~ George Sand

And boy, do we need an infusion of light in a pretty dark world right about now.

It’s kind of amazing to realize this, but Josh and I are actually making jewelry full time at present. Despite the increasingly unpredictable horizon, but we’re hoping we can keep it up for the foreseeable future.

As an artist, you’re always second guessing yourself. Is my work worthwhile? Do people like it, want it, need it? And if yes to that…Are they willing to pay me a living wage for it? In times of great uncertainty and well, let’s not mince words here, GREAT FEAR, it’s difficult to rationalize wanting to make your living creating and selling beautiful but non-essential “luxury” items. So I have to remember and remind myself often how important it is to stay connected to the inspiration and meaning in your work. It’s not all just sparkle and bling. For us, making jewelry is about creating beauty for people to relate to, to express themselves with, and to show the world what they find beautiful and meaningful. People buy and wear jewelry to reflect what shines in their innermost self.

This is a sacred art.

img_7352Not everyone thinks of jewelry in those terms, but the people that love our work generally do. And that’s what keeps us going.

It’s been a long, arduous summer and fall with 17 shows already under our belt, and gearing up again for the last 2 back to back weekend shows through early December. Between shows, I’ve been working diligently on marketing, scheduling, updating our Etsy shop, and keeping our online presence consistent and interesting, while Josh has done the lion’s share of studio work. We’re beginning to see the fruits of all this groundwork starting to come about, but it is often a difficult slog in an era when people are rightfully concerned about the future, weary of commercialism, and reluctant to spend their hard earned dollars on “frivolous” items. Like handmade jewelry. Like art, paintings, pottery, and whimsy. Like anything other than skyrocketing rents, meals, and the technology we rely on to hold our lives together.

img_4955But somehow, we’re still growing, albeit slowly and not without frequent obstacles. Despite the uncertainty of the economy, indie street art festivals, maker faires, and pop-up markets are gaining ground all over the bay area, and really all over the country. Why? Because an ever growing number of folks truly see the need for and the value of art—and specifically of hand crafted items—and the long term benefits of supporting one another in our local economies. And you know what, after the initial shock of the election results (and the aftershocks that just keep coming), I think we need to have this faith in ourselves, and we need to support each other, now more than ever.

“It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.” ~Max Eastman

To this end, we’re spreading as much holiday cheer as we can with our jewelry, as well as the fantastic work of our fellow friends, artists, and local galleries. If you want to help spread the love with us, please add your voice to the comments, share your favorite artists and artisans, and share this post with everyone you know who could use a nudge toward supporting the arts and buying local.

And if you’re looking to do some fun holiday shopping this coming weekend, come see us along with hundreds of wonderful independent artists and artisans at the San Jose Harvest Festival!

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HOUSE OF WORMWOOD
handmade soaps, skincare, candles, and lavishly original millinery items

BLUE MOON DESIGNS
Fancy Utility Accessories, Costumerie and Light Up Clothing

BLACK DOVE BOTANICALS
Healing and magical herbal skin and beauty products

JESSICA WERTZ CERAMICS
Handmade Pottery and Fine Porcelain Jewelry

ABRAMS CLAGHORN GALLERY
A curated gallery of over 100 local artists and museum style gift shop

ACCI GALLERY
A member-based community of artisans, artists, and art patrons in the heart of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto

 

“I don’t believe in art. I believe in artists.” ~ Marcel Duchamp

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