Jewels and Gems

Status report: Yesterday, I spent the entire day reading academic articles. Today, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get out. So I went to the Museum of Fine Arts for a new exhibit, Jewels, Gems, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern. It was a small exhibit, a single room. As you walked around, you could see the history of jewelry-making, from ancient Egypt to modern designers. The most interesting period was of course the nineteenth century. I saw a set of earrings that was made of taxidermed hummingbirds.  It was creepy but also beautiful, as Victoriana tends to be. The most beautiful pieces were from the end of the century, when masters like René Lalique were designing.

I tried to take photographs, but the room was dark, and the jewelry was lit from above and behind so the gems would sparkle. Of course I was not allowed to use flash in the museum. So it was almost impossible to make photograph turn out well. But I will show you the most beautiful piece in the exhibit, which appears on the catalog:

It’s a silver brooch with a marsh bird on it, in enamel. The original was just as stunning as the picture. The exhibit presented a good argument for looking at jewlery – at least some jewlery – as wearable art.

It was good to get out, to remind myself that there are more things in the world than this room, my work. Sometimes it feels as though, day by day, I’m becoming more despondent, more tired. And I need to finish what I’m doing. I can’t get stuck in the slough of despond, not now. But some days are difficult, especially when I have to read articles that are deadly dull. For hours at a time.

So I’m glad I went to the museum. Here I am, by the way, standing in front of the museum. In one of my new favorite dresses, which is comfortable and summery. In honor of the exhibit, I wore pearls.

I’m afraid that’s all I have for you today. I’m very tired, and I’m trying to keep going, and some days are better than others. At least today I saw some beautiful things. They reminded me that I want to make beautiful things myself – things that are beautiful and true. I just need to get to the place where that’s possible, because it can’t happen when academic articles are jostling around in my head, you know?

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