Above : We Carry Volumes - All These Empty Pages . iv : Kathleen Janvier

I suppose an appropriate follow-up to such an optimistic beginning is a more realistic look at our everyday. While artist couples certainly maintain the potential for daily encouragement in making, they also posses a sometimes enabling understanding of the ebb and flow of studio rhythms. The trap of sympathy snags us more than we would like, resulting in weeks of thin, frustrated excuses and neglected worktables. Of course we know better than to fully despair, as these pauses in the studio usually expose seasons of reading or exercising or a renewed interest in household chores – all of which manifest a rebalancing of the live/work ideal.

 

Unfortunately these moments of clarity can be impossible to find, hidden in the depths of not making. For example, regrettably, I know that my studio more often falls fallow in times of collective frustration – crushed by the weight of external madness. I need a minute to process, to grieve, before my hands can take up the task of internalization through making. This time, while I wait, I walk the house with Henry (our now six-month-old) and peak into Steven’s studio, envious of his ability to make in the darkness. Undeterred, he continues his practice, but now there is rain and absence in the optimism and color.

 

Right : Fill the Well - Steven Foutch

 

Meanwhile, the calendar pages continue to fall and we suddenly wake up in winter, at least that’s how it happens in Texas. Of course, we all bow to the business of the holidays, and it seems the addition of a very young child only amplifies the pull. But somehow we find moments to breathe between the days of traveling and bask in new experiences shared with family. This year, by the time we sank Henry’s feet into the sand, we realized that our fifteen-hour drive to Florida was nothing short of a pilgrimage to the Atlantic. In many ways I always feared the increase of sentimentality that comes with parenting - it’s potential to soften or trivialize my work - but now I find it deepening the newness of previously ordinary rituals and wondering how this new reverence for the everyday will seep into our home and studios.

Left : Henry's Feet - Atlantic Sand

 

Finally, amidst all this hopeful defeatism, I want to close by sharing some very exciting news! After spending most of my creative life looking to Schmuck (the oldest international exhibition of contemporary jewelry in the world) as Munich’s yearly litmus test of currently meaningful work in our field, I am still a little overwhelmed in announcing my acceptance into the 2017 edition. The importance of this public encouragement still burns in my chest as a validation of our artistically reckless decision to become parents. So many promised that motherhood would slow my practice of making, and at least momentarily I have to agree that it has. But there is also a deepened urgency, a bit more bravery, and a surprising store of confidence in the seasons of making. Prolific spring may be shelved for the moment, but it is always within reach.

Below : Flatter and Heave (accepted entries to Schmuck 2017) - Kathleen Janvier 

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