Susan Lenart Artist Statement
I feel, Jewelry is more than just a pretty piece that is purchased for the monetary value of a stone or its precious metals.I have found that this perspective is just one small element to a bigger picture.
I have travelled all over the world and even researched in small villages that held onto ancient traditions. Through my years in this field, I have discovered so much more depth to my knowledge of jewelry and adornment. I found that history, art, tradition and culture can not help but to be a big influence on adornment. Culture becomes embedded into this medium through every stitched or stamped symbol in fabric and every carved and engraved mark in metal jewelry.
My journey to developing my voice in adornment has taken many twists and turns. After art school, I began exploring and collecting hand made traditional clothing, costumes, objects and jewelry. I found history and culture so fascinating that it has influenced my style and now I embed my own history into my personal jewelry work.
I found, Nomadic people wore their wealth because they were on the move and there was not a sedentary place to keep it safe. Jewelry pieces and adornment were worn in layers of expressive moveable rich culture documenting a lifestyle and story of each individual culture.
At the root of all ancient adornment I found a story line of symbolism created by its people with what colors were around them, what food they hoped to catch, what evil spirits they hoped to repel, recorded wars, love, marriages,births and more.
And while pieces were being created by artists and craftsmen of its time, one can see their hopes, fears, desires, and material that people felt had an importance. Folk tales, music and dance were a big part of building shapes of adornment and jewelry.
I witnessed beautiful cultural dances as a big picture that included magnificent visual adornment of costumes and layers of jewelry moveable and chiming with each drum beat, Adornment in its splendor that tells a holistic and complete story of individual culture.
As for jewelry, I began to see a common thread throughout all cultures. .I collected Magical pieces that were created of metal, stone, gems, small objects, marks, icons and symbolism to protect and ward off evil and to bring abundance, love, prosperity and other qualities that one would wish for, as well as warding off the negative evil eye.
These magical jewelry pieces were and are called Talismans, Amulets and Prayer boxes. They are personal pieces of adornment built with a high and specific vibration.
Talismans are objects charged with positive or negative energy by a person through energies of the moon, the sun, day of the week, Talismans, at its core, spread their magic by a repetition of seeing a word (or an object that makes you feel a particular way such as happy, enlightened or in love or full with strength and abundance. Talismans are built to bring us joy, happiness, with the repetition of viewing and by charging qualities.
This knowledge and research is at the core of all of my current work and vibrant line of jewelry. I build vibrationally charged Talismans and my current line is brimming with this energy. I encourage light, love and joy into our world through the idea of Talismans, gems and unusual objects. (link to writings on my current jewelry line and photos)
Even now, Adornment speaks of who we are or who we want to become, our social status and how we feel about ourselves through subtle symbolism of shape, color, movement and material.
Personal adornment tells your own story. Universally, known as Talismans.
My Personal Talismans
As an artist, I realized that I had to find a way to make my work my own and not borrow from other cultures. So, as an American, I walked the beach where I lived and began to gather much of my own Talismans and personal objects that were important to me. I built my first piece called -
This piece is designed to hold the power of the objects placed upon it. It is a contemporary Talismans, built of my own culture, though It shares the same characteristics as perhaps, a warriors bundle or magical piece worn by a medicine man or woman. Upon closer examination you can view very ordinary objects such as record shards, license plate tin, feathers, altered beach glass and river rock, ruler shards, chicken bone, pencils, light bulbs and clock parts. Once discarded objects, when altered and united carry their own sense of importance. I enjoy lending power to the ordinary.
Another important piece to me was The Poker Game. I grew up playing cards and poker so I felt that this piece was a powerful and strong Talisman for me. This piece gives a description of what it feels like to be in a poker game.
The Poker Game
My father, a public accountant, taught us our math through a variety of card games such as crazy eights, seven-up and poker. We learned how to bet our pennies at an early age. As I grew up, I would often be involved in heated poker games involving nickels and quarters, sometimes dollars. There we would be in an intense, smoke filled room placing our bets.
This piece, A necklace called, The Poker Game, is about all that is involved in an actual game. I am comforted by seeing this action packed piece and can almost see the smoke filled room. The materials I choose were 52 playing cards encased in sterling silver, 2 jokers encased in beer cans with a bell attached, poker chips, cigarette butts, matches and a real $100 bill. It was important to the theme of the necklace that the $100 bill be a whole one because if you were in a pinch in the middle of a game you could pull this charm apart, tape the bill together and you are back in the game.
Energy Talismans Necklace
The Energy Talisman - Built 2006 - is a powerful wearable Talismans Necklace worn to gain vibrancy, renewal and strength.
A collection of pencil stubs were saved for me by a second grade class at Montessori school where I used to teach the Arts Program. I would watch all the children cognitively active, thinking, writing, focusing and erasing. From my studies of Talismans, this process looked the same to me as to how you would go about building your own Talisman. I saw them containing energy in these pencil stubs. (The complete book of Amulets and Talismans - Migene Gonzalez -Wippler) These individual components were powerfully bound together and meant to hold all of its vibrancy and energy collectively as a whole.
It is worn for invigorating and this energetic piece will resume balance and energy to me by placing it around my neck.