Selection from the Collection: Orrery Neckpiece

Tory Hughes, Orrery Neckpiece, 1992
Polymer and mixed media

Why are we artists, anyway? For me, this career is the most flexible and marvelous -as in ‘full of marvels’- I could imagine.

What other way of life encourages me to make such a marvelous thing as this?

There’s a spinning comet in the upper left, mounted on miniature ball bearings; there are overlapping circles and arcs, toothed and smooth, a little plumb bob dangling at the upper right. This piece was a total joy to create. There were challenging moments, yup, but I love this one. Throw in tiny planetary references and an improvisational approach to edges and Orrery is one of my all-time favorite pieces.

To begin: An orrery is a model of the planetary system. Antique Greek mechanisms for plotting and predicting the planets’ movements existed back to the first century BC. Modern versions arose in the early 1700′s during the Enlightenment, that grand investigative era when we were still figuring out the line between science, magic, technology, identity. Continue reading

Inspiration and Interpretation

Ford/Forlano, Big Bead Necklace, 1998
Throughout time, artists have found countless sources of inspiration.  Sometimes it comes from the world around them; the song of a bird, the curve of a face, or the color of a flower have all inspired art.  Other times,  an idea springs from something that is already integrated into an artist’s culture such as the lilt of a folk tune, an archetypal myth, or even a work by another artist.   Continue reading

Selections from the Collection: Armillary Neckpiece

Tory Hughes, Armillary Neckpiece, 1992
Polymer and mixed media
I believe most art is a snapshot of answers we’ve found in that moment. My more meaningful pieces are all illustrations of my current set of solutions, like anatomical drawings from another era, beautiful even when superseded or augmented by more information.

All of us have Grand Ideas that live within us, deep oceanic layers of connection to question, image, concept, content and feeling. I’ve found it best just to yield to those magnets, to sink into that familiar yet enigmatic embrace of what most identifies ‘me’ to ‘myself’, whether anyone else can relate to it or not. ‘Enigmatic’ because by definition no one else can see those deepest aspects of us as clearly as we can, whether we like it or not. One benefit of self-identifying as an artist is that we are expected to tackle these Grand Ideas. Whether we resolve them for ourselves or others is not as important as our willing attempt to do so. Continue reading