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The Joy of Movement

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Touchpoints for creating a visual language

Photo by Jess Zoerb on Unsplash

When I was a little girl, my parents put me in ballet class. I think I was five. I loved the black scoop-neck leotard, the pale pink tights, the leather ballet slippers. I couldn’t wait to be old enough for pointe shoes.

The accoutrements of dance became the first words in my visual language.

I tend to design in three dimensions, manipulating materials with my fingers rather than drawing with a pencil. The physicality of my ballet background may be one reason I work like this.

As a very young student, watching the talented older dancers leap, whirl and spin across the ballet studio electrified me. Their moves defied gravity. Their bodies made shapes in space, etching patterns in my mind: round on top, where their bunned heads revolved; wide in the middle, where their sheer chiffon skirts billowed out; sharp and pointed at the bottom, where their pink satin toe-tips touched the floor. When they finally stopped whirling, their bodies landed with precision into grounded poses from which their arms continued to vibrate, almost like jellyfish tendrils under ocean waves. I was captivated by every gesture.

Black & white image: back view of ballet dancer wearing tutu, left arm raised.
Photo by Hamid hamido on Unsplash

Dance movements, shapes and costumes show up frequently in my jewelry work. My Pearl-in-a-Nest series, for example, shows an obvious link to my watching the dancers en pointe with admiration. The elegant, balanced turns show up in the swirls of metal I use as a focal point on these designs.