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Why I love beads, wire, looms, and Art


In a way, beading, wire work, loom work, any and all Art explains many forces in the universe. American meteorologist Edward N. Lorenz introduced the concept of the butterfly effect.  The butterfly effect literally means that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in New Mexico will affect a hurricane in China.  Although it may take a long time in human time, the connection is real. Likewise, if the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right moment, the hurricane would not have happened.  What this means is that small changes or movements in the initial conditions can lead to radical changes in results.  Just what will be the results of not teaching cursive in the public schools?  How are the generations over the last 100 years widely divergent from one another because of technology, i.e., a 60 year old baby boomer has virtually no chance of being equal to children growing up and learning computers at age 2.  The brain has neuroplasticity—the brains of 2 year old humans engaged in computer learning are very different from those of a 60+ individual who learned computers in their 40s.


How does this relate to Art, to Making? I might start a pattern or a design.  By changing one element, it becomes completely different.  As I master one stitch or incorporate a two-sided as opposed to a round bead, the complexity of creating that design becomes more complex.  I see the design unfolding before me in a myriad of ways.  It works negatively as well; if there is a mistake, it will carry through and create distortion of form and chaos.  I usually have to undo my work to that place or just start over.


This leads to chaos theory.  As we can never account for all the initial conditions in a complex system (i.e., life does not happen in a petri dish controlled environment), it is not possible to predict the future of a system or Art work, if you will.  One can never measure the effects of all butterflies (or initial conditions) in the world, accurate prediction is not possible, i.e., weather forecasting.


Chaos not only disorder.  Chaos explores the transition between order and disorder.  Tubes of beads, metal tubing, copper wire, stones—this is disorder, chaos.  The eye of the artist transforms them into a communication, a type of order.


Included in the study of chaos are fractals. Fractals are never-ending patterns. Fractals are considered to be infinitely complicated, repeat in a feedback loop, and to be images of dynamic systems.  Fractal patterns are everywhere in nature:  sea shells, coastlines, hurricanes, clouds, grass fields. Humans replicated patterns, repeating patterns across cultures.


I enjoy making patterns with my jewelry, breaking up the patterns into unexpected rhythms.  It is as magical as morphology.  I start out with two small beads, similar to one another, just as the human fetus starts with two small cells, similar to one another. As the cells connect and form into an embryo, they are all the same.  Then, and no one knows why, they morph.  They change into limbs, eyes, stomach.  So it happens with beads and stones and wire.  The amorphous pile of small similar units morphs into complex patterns, hopefully pleasing and fascinating to the eye.


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