Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sources of Inspiration

Water, water

Any artist or artisan will tell you that inspiration comes from many sources. For me, water seems to be a major influence. For more than 20 years, we lived on a floating home moored on the Fraser River near Vancouver, BC.

The photo above was taken looking upriver, towards New Westminster, one winter afternoon when the windows in buildings to the east were fired with reflected glory. Fabulous.

The neighbors were pretty amazing, too. 

Just look at how the ripples behind this magnificent swan flash in the sunlight. It really shows depth and texture - something I love about the surface of water. It is always changing and always hypnotic.

Despite being a river, the Fraser here is near the ocean and hence subject to tides. The overall range was in the neighborhood of 18 feet — that made carrying groceries down from the car tricky at times (especially if there was snow or ice on the ramp). Eventually, my husband's arthritic knees made life there impossible so we now reside in a one-story bungalow. We both miss seeing the water every day.

Sea and Sand in Oregon

Having moved ashore, I now find my doses of inspiration in the nearby shores of White Rock and Crescent Beach and — whenever possible — with a trip to Cannon Beach.

This is Haystack Rock on a late November afternoon. I love being near the ocean. Look at the contrast between the surf and the smooth, wet sand in the foreground.

Below, a shot of water-rippled sand. These are the textures I try to capture by reticulating sterling silver. It's a slow process, involving repeated heating and quenching to prepare the silver sheet. The final step is to melt the pure silver that has come to the surface and use the torch to drag, bubble, ripple and otherwise shape it. When it is done, you have a stretch of naturally-textured beach sand captured forever.