Copyright © Linda R. Paine
My interest in hand crafted textual woven jewelry was stimulated by a lifetime of struggle in seeking a way to express my creativity. During eighteen years of learning to adapt to living in an alternate culture, I discovered that weaving offered the exact outlet that encouraged my mildly dyslexic mind to function in a joyously creative endeavor.
First learning tapestry weaving and later studying Saudi Arabia’s desert Bedouin nomad use of warp weaving to form narrow rugs and tent sides designed in colorful yet natural muted dyes led me to discover my methodology which I refer to as “creativity within structure”. Surprisingly, Saudi culture is very focused on jewelry as a way for women to hold and trade their wealth in gold and silver. At every turn I had the opportunity to study the significant similarities displayed in both the jewelry and weaving design and their historical importance in the development of the cultural life of the people.
My blending of sterling silver and 14/20 yellow or rose gold-filled elements in my jewelry pieces is reflective of the tapestry weaving techniques of hatching and seeding used to blend and establish a subtle color change. I also utilize the warp weaving technique which was well suited to the portable stick looms of the Bedouin nomads. Each classic or pattern woven bracelet, ring or set of earrings requires construction of an individual loom and distinctive warp and weft. Researching old textural designs such as belt weave, herringbone and basket weave and planning the weaving strategy on graph paper roots my dyslexic mind firmly in a structural environment. This methodology then sets my creativity free.
Weaving in metal is less forgiving; and during demonstrations, clients and onlookers remark how tedious and exacting the work appears to be. I tell them that the work actually has rhythm; and although it requires focus and concentration, it is relaxing for me and shares most of the same aspects as tapestry weaving. Borrowing from and appreciating multi cultural and historically important design work has culminated in my art jewelry. As my research and interests led me to chain weaving, I added pieces. I refer to these pieces as "art jewelry" where an item or design once useful for utilitarian purposes is now converted to use in art. Over the last two winters, I have been exploring bead weaving after viewing Maggie Meister’s work based on ancient Mediterranean area museum pieces. I may add some work based on Middle Eastern design in the future, but for now I offer a few experiments bringing colorful star fish to life, and 24 kt. gold lined Tamari balls, and combining gold and silver beads with Swarvoski crytals in fluid net stitch necklaces/bracelets. I have lived a life of melding geography and cultures, and I enjoy enhancing my work with those important aspects of my life experience.
Linda R. Paine