Occasionally I tell someone that I’m hugely interested in astronomy, that so much of my work is inspired by this love. Invariably, unless the person I’m telling is a scientist or of an engineering type brain, the reply I hear is, “That’s cool. When were you born?”
“I can totally see that.”
What I often want to say is, “Oh, there are so many more than two sides to my personality. I’m way more complex than I let on.”
Mostly though, I just repeat the word more slowly: “Ass-tron-oh-MEE…not astrology,” which usually gets an “Oh,” and then silence.
I talk with way more creatives and people into more-than-meets-the-eye than I do conventional thinkers, so I get that people think I might be into astrology, especially if they know how much I also love comparative mythology and the study of archetypes. I’m really not as woowoo as I look however, and not in the many decades since “What’s your sign?” was a standard pickup line (perhaps the lamest thing about the 70s) have I ever warmed to to the question.
Recently, as I heard myself say ‘astronomee’ with emphasis, I realized perhaps people respond less enthusiastically when they realize what I’ve said because that last syllable’s sound doesn’t quite ring true. Astronomy is very definitely not about me…or you…or us…or anything to do with the day to day perceptions of our lives. Quite the opposite.
We might be made of star stuff, but that stuff that makes up us was created in a universe utterly indifferent to us, when we were born, or the day-to-day bits of our lives.
Astrology on the other hand, lends us the belief that all those wonderous lights out there are all about us and everything we hope for, fear, or conspire to have come true. Their very patterns tantalize us with the possibility of foreknowledge and control over outcomes that are actually based on pure chance. Like language, art, and music, it’s all just ongoing stories humans made up because the idea that those wonderous lights are indifferent doesn’t provide most people with a sense of meaning…Unless you’re me, and I’ll concede that I’m not like most people.
Spoiler alert: I don’t believe in astrology. You probably already grasped that huh?
Here’s the thing. Imagine looking up at a particular constellation. Now go stand on Mars. The whole picture of that group of stars has changed, except that it hasn’t. Aside from the tiny detail that the whole universe is expanding, those stars haven’t changed much at all. Only your position and therefore you perspective of the picture has changed. All those “signs” are now jumbled along with whatever symbolism was projected onto them.
I said that a while back to 2 seriously brilliant friends of mine, and they literally said, “Well, yeah, uh huh,” and resumed right on chirping about how they wanted to know more about astrology so they could learn more about their own personality traits. I gave up.
Back in the late 90s I went every single, non raining Thursday night to the Fernbank Observatory, about 25 minutes from my house. It sports the largest telescope open to the public in the Eastern half of the USA, a 36” wonder that can reveal a surprising amount, given Atlanta’s light pollution. I made friends with the resident astronomer and the other Thursday night regulars as I showed up with pizza or homemade cookies. In return, I got to see more than the usual moon/Venus/binary star fare and frequently glimpsed Saturn’s rings, the Cat Eye Nebula, and the Ring Nebula instead.
From the ring mechanism I invented from staring at the observatory’s rotating ceiling and nebula clusters rendered in granulation to NASA’s captured images of Jupiter’s storm bands expressed in filigree and the glimpses of Hubble telescopes peaking out from behind my illuminations and manuscripts, my art is most certainly made, like you and me, of star stuff.
There is an exquisitely solitary solace I experience when looking at the vast expanse of space, a dwarfing of the importance of the daily roller coaster of emotions we often face. Gazing up at the complex wonder of the Milky Way and grasping what infinitely small atoms we are in the drops of water of a massive ocean makes, for the briefest moment, life’s outrageous slings and arrows recede like so much dim background noise. Even stranger, the return to mundane awareness makes all the random and unlikely things that surround me, feel like new gifts.
The Big Workshop Reveal
Ok, it’s more like a big workshop sneak preview, but I wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be teaching [drum roll, please]
An online Eastern Repousse Ring & Cuff workshop in the fall of 2022!
This will be an intermediate/advanced Eastern repousse class, and having studied Eastern repousse with me in person, online, or through my video will be a prerequisite. Having learned other types of repousse from anyone else won’t be enough to keep up with the processes in this class, so if you’re interested in learning my method for creating rings and cuff bracelets in this amazing and empowering technique, you’ve got one last chance in 2022 to learn how in time.
Don’t miss the last opportunity to satisfy the prerequisite! Eastern Repousse & Chasing – Hosted by Silvera Jewelry School, February, 2022 – Go from flat sheet to the sculptural forms of your dreams as this class takes you from the basics to the possibilities and beyond and gets you ready for rings and cuffs in the fall.
If you’ve wanted to learn Russian Filigree, there are only 5 spots left in my special upcoming class online, hosted by the Craft Guild of Dallas, January, 2022
Get Ready for the Early Site-wide Holiday Sale!
One thing none of us has any control over is the shipping situation right now. That’s why I’ve decided to run my annual holiday sale early. If you’re getting gifts for others or for yourself, avoid the delivery angst and order now!
10% all Art Jewelry, Archival Prints, Tools, and DVDs! Use coupon code HAPPYHOLIDAYS at checkout. Any qualifying items will show a 10% reduction in price once coupon is applied.
Sale ends December 12, 2021 (no exceptions).