"LOVE" Design Challenge

(Click on an image to enlarge it.)

December, 2017
Copper, sterling silver, and stainless steel
4.9cm x 4.2cm x 1.9cm
(HxWxD; measured at the thickest point.)

This piece was created for a Valentine’s Day show held by Alchemy 925 in Belmont MA. Applicants were given a kit of materials (provided by Halsted) and were tasked with creating a wearable piece of jewelry from it. Artist statement is as follows:

The initial question that put this piece into motion was a simple one: “How do you define love?” I had to give this a lot of thought; enough to fill several pages in a journal I keep in my desk. Eventually I settled on an answer that was short and to the point: “Exciting on the surface, but panic inducing in practice.”

This brooch is about trying to open up to someone, but instead presenting a facade and retreating inward. Formally, it is a thick hexagon with several geometric features present throughout: the front face has a gridded texture surrounded by a silver rim which is secured by rivets, the hinges and catch are plain and utilitarian in nature, and the sides are comprised of clean edges with sharp corners. These formal qualities add up to an outward appearance of something which is tough, imposing, and secure—mirroring the hard, neutral exterior that I attempt to maintain around people.

The brooch can be opened to reveal a soft, and cutesy interior: the inside of the lid is embossed with a lace pattern and the texture of a soft fabric. The inside of the brooch itself has a disheveled look with the words “Love is crazy” betwixt several cartoonish silver hearts and textured walls. This is a tongue and cheek way of alluding to both the sinister secrets that this box holds, and my issues with anxiety, depression, and trust. Taking the brooch off the body and viewing it from the back reveals a hexagonal shaped hole that faces the wearer, revealing a small chamber covered in writing.

Inside here I have etched my fears, anxieties, and doubts about love, and opening up to another person. When looking inside this hole, a very terse warning about getting emotionally attached that can be clearly seen. The rest of the text can be difficult to read, requiring one to shift the brooch around in the light, and rotate it to follow the sentences that wrap around the “floor” of this tiny room in a circle. These are notions of self-doubt and self-loathing that I constantly battle with. More text is present inside this little room in a similar, circuitous manner—but to read it one must place a mirror inside the hole and look up at the “ceiling” of this tiny room. These are anxious worries that I maintain when I have been in love: “Am I communicating enough? Am I communicating too much?” for instance. However, these words are punctuated by a single ray of hope, and it is the hardest portion of text to read: “Could this be it?”