Focus brings Thought, Depth, and Curation

December 11, 2019

Artisan Necklace

Hope Floats No. 4


I learned a lot by creating in a series rather than one-offs.  By focusing on one idea or element I was able to broaden my thought, deepen my meaning, and curate a collection.

In this next set of mixed media pendants and necklaces I expanded beyond talisman to story telling which is my favorite kind of art.


tunic length artisan pendant

Hope Floats No. 5



Again the main focal were some hollow art glass beads by Natalia Lugovskaya that carried on the original thought of Japanese fishing floats.  This time I thought of my ancestors that lived on the Solway Firth in Scotland and made their living fishing and smuggling to avoid English taxes.  Later generations were Merchant Mariners, skippers of merchant ships that sailed to Asia for trade.  They were not wealthy and at most they owned a small cottage, but I believe they lived full lives of adventure and joy based on stories shared with me by those that knew them or of them.  


Solway Firth Bie Family

Captain Billy Bie taking a group of children out boating.

Rockcliffe, Scotland


Captain John, Captain Billy's brother, was quite a character in this small fishing village, eccentric even.  However, like many small towns do, he was loved and embraced by the children and adults alike.


Captain John Bie and his animals

Captain John Bie with some of his animals, including Rover (the larger of the two dogs.)


John's animals were always interesting, especially to the Rockcliffe visitors.  These were a horse, a donkey, a dog, a parrot and a monkey.  (According to one woman who visited Rockcliffe as a child - these animals all lived inside John's cottage with him - a four room cottage, 2 rooms down, 2 up!).  The dog and monkey were great companions, and the monkey generally travelled about the district on the back of the dog.  The faithfulness of these two to their kind-hearted master may be illustrated by the following incident.  Captain Bie had been away for a cargo, and the dog must have seen a vessel enter the river, for it came over from Rockcliffe to Kippford with the monkey on its back and swam across the river to where the vessel was moored, expecting to be welcomed by its master.  Unfortunately the vessel was a stranger, and the animals had made their journey in vain.  An artist painted the monkey, but the animal licked the paint on the canvas and thus brought about its own death, much to the grief of the dog, Rover, who mourned for it some considerable time.


Rockcliffe postcard

Rockcliffe postcard of Rover and Captain John's monkey.


Alexander Murdoch with John's monkey


So you can see how my mind wanders somewhat like how one can get lost in Googling!  I would have to rein myself back in to my series, but those wanderings would certainly affect my work.


Mixed Media pendant

Hope Floats No. 6


Ocean inspired artisan necklace

Hope Floats No. 7


"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came."  John F. Kennedy