Friday, November 03, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions…

… and I mean frequently. I've decided for the next few posts, I'll share excerpts from an FAQ form I've written regarding my Plastic Body Series. Here's the first installment:

1. “What is the Plastic Body Series?”
It’s my latest series of art jewelry made with sterling silver and Barbie doll parts. It is an examination and celebration of my own, as well as our cultures', relationship with Barbie.

2. “How long have you been making jewelry?”
I’ve been a full time studio jeweler for the past 5 years since graduating college (The Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD 2001) I was first introduced to jewelry making in high school. I attended Lake George High School, in upstate NY, which was, and still is, very fortunate to offer jewelry courses to its’ students. I was a General Fine Arts major in college. I took a lot of drawing, painting, and photography classes but it wasn’t until my junior year that I started to really concentrate on jewelry/metalsmithing. For me it was a way to get the art off the wall and on to the body so it could really be shared, experienced and quite literally felt. My fine art background has given me the foundation necessary for conceptual exploration in my jewelry work.

3. “How did you first get the idea to make jewelry out of Barbie dolls?”
I’ve been obsessed with Barbie ever since I was a little girl. She made her debut in my artwork in high school. I once did a project where I took a bunch of Barbie dolls and delicately painted on their plastic bodies, transforming each of them to look like something else. One was made into a carrot, another a zebra, etc. I even painted one with a suit and tie, a beard and a moustache to look like a man. Later in college I did a series of drawings, self-portraits of myself holding Barbie dolls, balancing her on my head, sitting her on my shoulder, in a sense wearing her, so it was really only a matter of time before she crept into my jewelry work. I was also interested in combining alternative materials and/or found objects into my metalwork. I took some gender studies classes that furthered my interest in feminism and womenÂ’s issues and I started to look a bit more critically at Barbie and what she symbolized as an ideology as well. Jewelry seemed the best form for my art in exploring the subjects I was interested in. It seemed the perfect way to address issues involving women and the body; through jewelry, (a form of adornment predominantly associated with females) using Barbie, the ultimate female icon.

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