Updated: Dec 6, 2022
“Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now…”
I was listening to some great old music from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and these lyrics jumped out at me. I replayed it and then jotted it down. I then sank into my own new Now that has been a blend of post-Covid and retirement, and staying close to home. It's honestly what I've longed for as I whirled across the country and spent long hours designing, making samples and packing up jewelry and displays for trade shows at my studio/workshop. All of this kept me away from home.
'Now at home' means fully enjoying the coziness of my house and the coastal setting that I love surrounded by my collections of artifacts and inspirations. I call my style of interior décor Victorian Kitsch. Living less hurried in my sanctuary that took years to evolve and refine feels really, really good!
Don’t get me wrong, I still love travel and will continue to have far-flung adventures. When I was in NYC for a trade show, I did take full advantage and explored what the City had to offer – Restaurants, shopping, art museums and galleries or visiting my dear friends in Rhode Island and swimming in the fresh salty Atlantic in the summertime.
Do you think you've changed since the first days of Covid? Did you develop new habits or creative expressions? Did you finally complete those lingering projects? Did you read more and find new ways of thinking? Drop a line, I'd love to hear from you.
So many people I know are moving or retiring, and then sadly, there are the close friends who've died. Change is always with us. I hope you are feeling comfortable in your place right Now. We are not our past, we are in this moment...and it’s so great to be here with you!
Another reason for cocooning at home is that I've been recuperating from my second total knee joint replacement surgery! After the rigors of trade shows over the last 40 years and lifting cases of heavy metal jewelry and setting up elaborate displays, it was inevitable that something would wear out. Not to fall into that typical, almost humorous, conversation when people gripe about their many health ailments, but these surgeries and the long period of recuperation have been quite intense.
The good news is that I am feeling stronger each day, and am back to swimming three times a week. It's a reminder that whatever you do, make your health a priority so you can live a long and active life.
upping the garden
I'd be remissed if I didn't share the latest on my garden, which has just received an influx of new plants from my friend Debra, a Bromeliad collector, who moved away recently. The unique plants she left in my care add a whole luscious dimension to the garden, creating gorgeous new layers and textures.
EXPERIMENTAL ART FORMS
Since I stopped my business early in 2020, I have been happily creating at the Sanchez Art Center. Lately, I have been experimenting with using jewelry parts to produce 2D art. Also combining painting and collage has been hugely satisfying. I have created a series of political mixed media pieces: In Support of Black Lives Matter, Roe v Wade, No Racist Attacks - Hate Free Community. These 3D experimental pieces were largely made with collectables from my toy cabinet at Eureka Square!
I extended my work with toys and other objet d'arts to create space concepts like my Lunar Exploration and Lunar Landing works. I’m fascinated by collections of stuff and my piece Wish Parade displays a chorus line of wishbones showing off my many years of collecting bones.
Just recently it was fun to learn that one of my mixed media diptychs Terrain recently won a merit award at this year's Art Guild of Pacifica's annual exhibition that runs through Nov. 20. You can check out some of my new work below. Lastly, I'm just putting the final touches on a new "Art" section on my website that goes deeper into my process for my artwork. Be sure to check out and let me know what you think!
WINTER ART FAIRE & OPEN STUDIOS
I still love to make jewelry and often give classes in my Studio #3. Lucky for me the Winter Art Faire at the Sanchez Art Center on Dec. 10 and 11 has invited all the studios to open from 11 AM - 5 PM to share their art with the public! The Winter Art Faire presented by the Art Guild of Pacifica is one of two sales events I participate in annually. It's a great way to support your local artists and find unusual holiday gifts.
I also have new jewelry designs to share and you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase some amazing jewelry samples from previous collections. You can see some new pieces below -- I hope to see you there!
ART EXPLORATIONS AROUND TOWN
Yes, exploring art has been a big part of my professional life for Jan Michaels Jewelry. But, it's also just plain fun and transporting. Going to an art show forges new connections to other artists and opens a fascinating door to their minds. There is also much history woven into an art collection on display, and through the artist you can experience a slice of the past.
Before I say good-bye for Now, I wanted to share some breathtaking exhibitions that have made a big impact on me in the last few months. Here they are with some pictures below...Love Jan XOX
Trailblazer Judy Chicago has always been an advocate for equality with men in the art world. In the 80s she began her career with the famous Dinner Party, a huge show with dinner settings on a triangular table at the Museum of Modern art in San Francisco. I visited her recent show at the DeYoung Museum in winter 2021.
Diego Rivera's show is now at the SFMOMA. I have always appreciated the colors and style of this great muralist, who was the lover and husband of Frieda Khalo. It seems there was never a dull moment in their relationship, and they had an incredibly artful life together.
I was truly bowled over at the Guo Pei's Fantasy Couture show at San Francisco's Legion of Honor. Her fashion masterpieces are created in the imperial style of China's Forbidden City, loaded with gilded threads designed by Guo Pei herself. Her creations literally took thousands of hours by a 500-person staff to make. A national treasure of today's China, Pei's “bigger than life” fashion intermingles with the museum artifacts, and amazingly, has the same caliber of craftsmanship. I couldn’t get enough of this show and have seen it twice. The show has been extended through Nov. 27. It's easy to see why the show has been so popular, with Pei's dazzling encrusted embroideries and dramatic botanical themes. Highly recommend!
As fans of my work know, I love everything about ancient Egyptian history. It was in 2000 that I visited the Ramses Temple in Abu Simbel on a wonderful educational tour. The artifacts in the Ramses Show at the De Young Museum were exquisite. However I thought the audio visuals were over produced, and unfortunately, I found them overly distracting.