Accesory

Accessory a brooch by Abby Smith

Accessory a brooch by Abby Smith

In my early years as an artist I felt the need to justify…to defend the materials, explain the concepts, vindicate a loaded image. I mean who thinks of jewelry as art right? Especially jewelry made of garbage.
It disturbed me if I didn’t fully understand what I was presenting, and that sometimes I created an object with controversial intent. It’s comical in retrospect. I was a very mannerly artist indeed.
Likewise, I tried to write comprehensible poetry. If I wrote a line I didn’t understand, a word that arrived as a sound, something of questionable ilk, I removed it. How sad, I literally erased the moments of breakthrough out of fear I couldn’t explain myself. Where I got the notion that art should or could be graspable, defendable, I don’t know. I believed in what kills art; but I let that go, long ago. When I stopped explaining, I was more inspired, and more open to synchronicity in my art and life. Accessory is a good example.
I was thrilled when I found the little broken gun on a filthy Cuernavaca curb. I could not help but wonder what goes through the mind of a person who walks up to a sales clerk and hands them money for a toy machine gun. From the size of the gun it appears to be made for a five or six year old hand. I know boys (mostly) love guns, some claim this is genetic. And I’m seldom disturbed by other sorts of toy weaponry, cowboy revolvers for instance. But something about a replica of an AK47, the world’s most popular assault rifle, as Nicolas Cage puts it in God of War, placed in the hand of a six year old as a gift, perhaps even a reward, shocked me, and I’m not easily shocked.
It was obvious the gun would become a brooch, my favorite form. I envisioned it crustily sparkling with beads in Day of the Dead colors before I my walk ended. Then the title came to mind: Accessory…I was delighted by the double entandre: adornment and complicity.
Next, the search for the beads. A few months later, I was in the market in Tepoztlan and there was a vendor with sheets spread out, covered in piles of beads. It was the first time I’d seen beads for sale in a Mexican Market. One sheet was piled high with small bag of seed beads, exactly what I needed, at 3 pesos a bag, just my price range. I chose four bags, one with mixed beads I hoped would have sufficient variety to accent the base colors I’d chosen.
In the mixed bag I found six gold bugle beads: bullets– and one red, one white and one blue bugle bead to make a solid allusion down the barrel of my piece. In the whole bag there were only these nine bugle beads. That is the everyday magic of art.
Fearlessly, unapologetically, open your heart to its intentions and it will provide.

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Yen

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Om namo shiva ya

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Baubles

Baubles

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Blurbs

Blurbs

Just a few of the ONE-Of- A – KIND pieces at Eloquent Remains.

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Beyond the Pale

Live...Beyond the Pale

Live…Beyond the Pale

My grandmother Betty Jo McDowell was well known for her sayings like: ‘colder than a well digger’s clavicle’, ‘show’em where the hog ate the cabbage’ and ‘to each his own said the old lady when she kissed the cow’. But my favorite, was one she often used to describe me, exclaiming “Abby, that is just beyond the pale!”

If you’re not familiar with this idiom it means; outside the acceptable norm. It’s and old English saying, referring to the boundary of the community known as the pale.

Though I knew Grandma didn’t exactly mean it as a compliment, there was both a cautionary and a conspiratorial tone in her voice. I understood that to live outside the normal parameters of society was risky, but desirable. And in part because of my Grandmother’s encouragement, I have spent much of my life there, beyond the pale.

This body of work is entitled ‘Beyond the Pale’ in memory of my Grandmother who loved beautiful and unique things. She applied her taste, and curiosity to become a successful antique dealer. I learned much about design, my appreciate of the unusual, and a fearless personal style from her example and tutelage. The pieces, Baubles and Blatant, repurpose vintage belt buckles from her estate.

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The slide show is a sample of the pieces available at my new Etsy store: Eloquent Remains.

I hope you’ll find something there that inspires you to venture outside the pale.

Visit my Facebook page for updates on my work, artists I admire and conversation about found objects and art. I’d enjoy to hearing about your great finds and creative repurposing.

Silent Narratives

It is a strange vocation, making tiny art objects for people to wear on their bodies out of stuff I find on the ground. This is what it looks like in the beginning.

???????????Sometimes I make something that is only about beauty, or form, like Watchichilis, but generally my pieces have something to say. I consider them amulets, like this piece made of a cow’s knee bone, Another Amazon.

?????????????? I know I’m doing it right when a piece comes together like a puzzle. Look Out! snapped into place (it’s tension set with the fork prongs) without the need of adhesive or wiring. It is content and precision, as if all these little objects had just been waiting to come together to tell their story.?????????Often my work contains hidden messages that I believe will find the intended wearer. As is the case with, It Never Fails.

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A selection from my spring collection Silent Narratives

king of Wands

king of Wands

 

music of the spheres

music of the spheres

 

conflict of interests

conflict of interests

blossom

blossom

My work is available at 2AU Limited in West Des Moines, Ia.

More posts about my art work.

Invisible Saints

Common Gods

Merry Christmas Happy Empire!

My Muse, Refuse

The Constant Vowel

p.s. to WordPress, I really miss the slide show option.