Seeking a Slower Frame of Mind

When I lived in New York City - for a beautiful 22 years - one of my favorite ways to gather inspiration was to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a sketchbook and camera. No agenda, no eye-on-the-clock, just time to meander and notice what popped out for me. Meditative moments sitting by a well-known masterpiece, or something completely obscure but beautifully formed. It’s nearly a cliche, right? The young buck seeking out sparks in a world-renowned art institution. But cliches are there for a reason! Goodness me if it doesn’t work. 

Obviously I loved the ancient objects and the beautiful gold jewelry. I loved the period rooms and the furniture. There was a desk featuring a mother of pearl inlay illustrating the night sky and a fireplace mantle intricately carved from stone that had each belonged to past generations of my family. Visiting them always felt like a little jolt of electricity - a sweet and aesthetic reminder that objects hold magic and meaning and create connection. It’s not just in my imagination. They matter. 

Today in my SoCal beach town, my inspiration is pulled from walks on the cliffs overlooking the ocean; on narrow streets without sidewalks where the plantlife from neighbors’ yards spills out over fences. I once was brought to tears just by coming across a stone wall over which bougainvillea, morning glories, honeysuckle and a lemon tree burst into sight. It was that branch with the lemons that really set me over the edge. So optimistic, reaching for the sun, waiting patiently for a visit from a monarch or a hummingbird. It’s poetry, and it just grows for us. 

When I was carving the wax models for these pieces in the Foundation Collection, I was thinking of the ancient objects in the museum halls and how they seemed to hold some kind of magic. I was thinking of the elegant curves of the expertly crafted furniture and the elegance they brought to the homes they used to occupy. And I was thinking of the succulents and trailing, creeping, spilling flowers that are so abundant around here. They can all sit together. And they do.

The Pause motif is probably the one that feels most evocative of these inspirations for me. Something about the bulbousness of the form, the three little pinpoint diamonds on the bottom, the contrast of the architectural crossbar against the organic weight of the curve below. It’s nature and decoration and a message from the ancients all in one. It’s a meditative moment in a museum in a metropolis, and a walk to clear your head and breathe deeply for peace of mind. Take a Pause. There’s power in the slowdown.