The administrative staff at SRAJD selected one overall winner for the December challenges. This person’s designs were chosen as best exemplifying the challenge themes.
Congratulations Neva Murtha of Spiral River Designs!
Here are Neva's submissions:
We thought it would be nice to get to know a little bit more about Neva so I asked her some questions…
What prompts you to embrace the SRAJD jewelry-making challenges?
A bunch of recent work aligned perfectly with the themes!
How did you learn your craft?
I’m self-taught and I usually learn by getting an inspiration and then learning what I need to learn in order to make the inspiration manifest. I love staying at my technical edge.
What do you think is the most interesting thing about your creative expression?
What interests me most is how I observe certain designs and creations with certain stones want to be manifest through me - the idea or inspiration persists until it’s manifest. Sometimes it’s a series of creations with certain stones (BC nephrite jade, tourmaline, aquamarine, citrine for example) and sometimes it is about rings or a series of bracelets. I make some time to follow the inspiration and then it usually becomes one of my best sellers. And when it comes to stones I usually look up the metaphysical meaning after I have been working with it awhile only to discover how aligned my recent journey has been with the properties of the stones. And then I realize the creation wanted to be birthed to reflect a truth to me, or remind me of something.
What themes do you pursue?
The themes I pursue are usually linked to the way I describe my creative expression above. For example, blue tourmaline will provoke me and then it’s all about what beautiful creation wants to be made with blue tourmaline. Or I’ll be in the studio and the sage bush outside starts sending me ideas for sage leaf earrings. Or I’ll go the beach and the cedar trees will whisper their secrets until I create a bunch of pieces with cedar leaf and bark textures.
Did you always want to be a jewelry artist?
I have always been an artist and I have always had a deep affinity with the ‘stone people’ but three years ago I had no idea I was a latent jewelry artist. I have a degree in fine arts with a specialization in printmaking (etching) and after university I followed my heart into pottery (also self-taught). And then the stones called and provoked me. Had I known 20 years ago or more that I loved making jewelry and had a skill with it, I imagine I would have studied that instead of fine arts…but that was not my path. I am grateful for the jewelry because I experience it to be an amazing way to combine my love of form, texture and colour into wearable art.
What are the biggest challenges that you face as a self-representing jewelry artist?
My biggest challenges are having enough time to follow and manifest every inspiration I have (there are several pent up right now). And I have discovered it’s a massive amount of work to maintain my own website and direct traffic to it.
What role does the artist have in society?
Oh my, so many. This has been a question I have pondered for more than 20 years. What I have come to observe is that artists using any medium are channels of creation – something wants to be created and that something pulses though the person to create it…think of all the great masters. Artists can show us what incredible beauty exists all around us. They show us how to heal and express and inspire. They show us how to care about space and beauty. They show us how to transcend the mundane. They show us what is under the surface in the collective unconscious. They show us what inspiration is and how to be free while also being a technical master. (My partner says ‘there would be no society without artists’, as he laughs.)
How has your art changed over time?
My art (creative expression)– whether it is etchings, pottery, drawing, creating a beautiful home and garden, was initially a way I processed my truth and true nature. When I look back at my creations from 20 years ago I know that what was being expressed through me was something I had not yet totally embraced in my being. And my art has always been a way of expressing my spiritual path. What I find amazing is that the stones provoked me into starting to make jewelry when I started to feel whole as a result of my spiritual path. Now, I experience my jewelry creations as an expression of that wholeness and you’ll see the symbols of that in many of the shapes I use.
What does the future hold for you?
I see many ‘rings of light’ featuring amazing stones, as beauty and inspiration continue to provoke technical mastery.
Neva, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. It’s an immense pleasure seeing your work and getting to know you better!
See more of Neva's fabulous jewelry here:
Neva in the Spiral River