c o n t e m p l a t i o n s a n d i n s p i r a t i o n s o f a n a r t i s a n j e w e l r y d e s i g n e r

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Figure 5

The Figure 5 by Robert Indiana

SEPTEMBER - This month we are celebrating the fifth anniversary of Judith Altman Designs! As I reflect back over these years, I think mostly of the people that I have had the honor of getting to know. From my "virtual" company cohort of independent sales reps, marketing peeps, graphic designers and suppliers; to fabulous customers, both the retailers and the wearers of my creations.

And while these years have presented me with many new and daunting challenges, I have grown from them. I have also derived great joy from my successes and have learned to appreciate the fullness and richness that life has to offer. I embarked on this journey, leaving corporate life, seeking more authentic work, where I could feel more closely and creatively connected to the products of my efforts. And that is what I celebrate this month.

I am ever grateful for my creative studio time that is like a meditation for me. And for the wonderful and caring friends and colleagues who have supported, encouraged, nudged and mentored me. And most of all to my muses - the fabulous women who wear my creations. Thank you!

The Figure 5 by Robert Indiana (above) holds special meaning for me. A piece that he did in this series hung outside my boss's office at my last corporate job. It was never appreciated by many in that office. It's value as art escaped them. But to me it was like a siren, calling me to change. It was one of many signs that I took to show me the way back to a life filled with art, creative people and artistic sensibilities. The story is that the series was inspired by a poem by William Carlos Williams, which I also take as a call for waking up and paying attention to what is important.

The Great Figure
by William Carlos Williams

Among the rain
and lights
I saw the figure 5
in gold
on a red
fire truck
to gong clangs
siren howls
and wheels rumbling
through the dark city.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Size Matters

There are few things that I love more than watching women shop and try on jewelry. What we select often has to do with a specific outfit, a particular piece of clothing or material like a birthstone. What strikes me is that some women know so well what works for them, and others have preconceived ideas that are not always right. Size of jewelry is one of them. "I'm too small to wear this" or "I'm too big to wear this" is so often uttered and so often incorrect. Significant, statement making pieces can really be worn by everyone with the guidance of a few basic concepts.

The size of the materials in a necklace and its construction should correspond to the features of your face not to the frame of your body. In other words, someone with fine, detailed features, no matter their body size, can wear significant pieces of jewelry made up of smaller beads and components - such as multiple strands of smaller beads. A woman with larger features - large eyes or a big smile - can wear large stones or pendants, no matter how petite her frame. Either woman can wear something substantial and statement-making by donning either multi-strands of smaller stones or pearls, or singular larger stones and pendants. Body size really doesn't matter - which is why jewelry shopping is so much more rewarding than clothing shopping. Something always fits!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Eight Auspicious Symbols

As many of you know, I adore collecting and using ethnographic components in my jewelry, often from Asia and especially with roots in Buddhism. Many of you ask about the symbols used on these pieces. Called the Eight Auspicious Symbols, they each represent something desirable and meaningful. I don't know for sure if wearing them brings us any of these desired conditions, but I figure it can't hurt.

Parasol - Protection from suffering, obstacles, illness and harmful forces.

Treasure Vase - Symbolizes long life, wealth, prosperity and liberation.

Conch Shell - Awakening from ignorance. Reminds one to work for the benefit of others and oneself.

Victory Banner - Symbolizes the victory over body, speech and the mind of negative energy.

Golden Fishes - Represents happiness, spontaneity, abundance of joy and good fortune.

Lotus - Symbolizes the purity of body, speech and mind.

Endless Knot - To perform endless practice of wisdom and compassion.

Dharma Wheel - To experience the joy of wholesome deeds and liberation.

* Special thanks to my wonderful friend Chhiring Sherpa who has shared this and so much more and who has taught me to make my singing bowl sing!

Silver repousse pendant from Tibet with
(clockwise from top) dharma wheel, conch shell, golden fish and parasol