I am always asked if I get lots of jewelry inspiration while traveling, and the answer is I do, but it’s not in the way people think it is. I have thought about this carefully, and came to the conclusion that I don’t usually get specific ideas, instead get in a creatively inspired state. Because our lives in the West are so fast paced, and there are so many things to keep track of, it is exhausting and life lacks balance. For the past decade I have been spending a couple of months out of the year in Brazil, which is a country that embraces human connections, a country that loves color, music, dance and nature. People make time for each other, are affectionate, and are not constantly rushing. After a couple of weeks there, I start to feel the changes in my body, and after a month I feel like a different person! I realize how much stress my body was holding that I wasn’t even aware of!! This state of relaxation in my body, and the sense of ease lends itself to jewelry making which is very detailed oriented and requires a relaxed, steady, and focused energy. I do a lot of metal smithing (creating new collections/prototypes) while I am there, it’s the perfect environment for me to focus….with no interruptions! The other big component in my work is color, I would say my work is as much about color as anything else. My time in Brazil is deeply immersed in a world of color, I spend a lot of time in Bahia which is a state with very strong African roots, the culture is rich, and the people are joyful, alive, bold, and have a deep love for color and life! I love this area of Brazil, its people, the culture, and geography. After being surrounded by color in every aspect; from homes to markets, food, clothing, flora and geography, it has a deep effect on my senses. I always come home filled with desire to make pieces with bold colors, and indulge in all sorts of wild color combinations in my work and wardrobe. I can definitely tell the pieces I make after my time in Brazil compared to the ones that are made many months later! The same goes for my speech: after I return from my trip I notice that I am overly enthusiastic, using words like “amazing”, “marvelous” casually as one does in Brazil, and I keep telling everyone how much I love and adore them which is normal there. I have to reel myself in a bit, as it does seem out of place in the US where everyone is so measured. In many countries enthusiasm is not curbed, it’s celebrated!
Travel is such a visual and sensory feast, one is exposed to so many new experiences and sensations that it is hard not to be in and inspired state. I believe that everyone, but especially artists, need to refuel the soul with fulfilling and stimulating experiences. Our daily lives can be stressful and depleting in the modern world, so it is important to nourish ourselves emotionally and spiritually so that we can show up with energy and our creative side can be resilient and inspired. I have noticed the incredible benefits to my personal and professional life to get away and be in a place that is nourishing to me, living life on my terms. One of the things I have been focusing on in the past years is slowing down while I am abroad, I find this to be so incredibly good for me. I love living in and urban setting, and the Bay Area in particular, but I can’t imagine giving up my two months of slowing down in a different country/culture, it makes all the difference. If you have considered slowing down, or this is something that appeals to you, I highly recommend it. It really helps to recalibrate, put things in perspective, and to recharge for the urban, fast paced life a lot of us have. After all, stress is a big contributor to illness, chronic pain, and anxiety. In my opinion, performing at a superhero pace in life, is overrated and unhealthy!