Poetry in Metal – Trunk Show at Ayesha Studio + Gallery

When I arrived at the age that I could talk, my parents would read me the poems from the Tang dynasty (China 618-907) and teach me to memorize them. The poems are usually in a 4-sentence or an 8-sentence format. Each sentence contains either 5 or 7 Chinese characters. They rhyme and they are good exercises for developing memorization skills. As I grew older and developed a better knowledge of words, I also developed a stronger sense about the symbolic meanings in those poems. They are mainly expressions designed to capture a moment of time. With a total of only 4 sentences, it succeeds in capturing the scenery inside a story. One famous poem by Li Bai, “Seeing Meng Haoran off from Yellow crane Tower”, goes like this,

At Yellow Crane Tower in the west, my old friend says farewell;
In the mist and flowers of spring, he goes down to Yangzhou;
Lonely sail, distant shadow, vanish in blue emptiness;
All I see is the great river flowing into the far horizon.

With these 4 sentences, the poem paints a picture depicting the elements of the event, the place, the time of the year, the scenery of the landscape, and the emotion. It is interesting to observe how the poet carefully arranges these elements. The profound sense of sadness might otherwise not be communicated if he had arranged the elements in the order of time, landscape, place and the event. The landscape at the end really leaves us with a sense of loneliness and bereavement after his friend’s departure. Similarly, I carefully consider the arrangement of the elements in my own work in order to evoke the specific emotions I want someone to feel from a piece of my jewelry. For example, should I put the stone in the center of the picture to create a stabled balance? Would it communicate better if I put the stone in the upper portion of the piece to create a sense of suspension? Or, would it be better yet to put the stone at the lower bottom to emphasize the gravity and the weight of the stone. I like to see my jewelry/work as expressions of art and capable of communicating on the level of a poem.

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