We are manifesto-less. Our meetings do not begin on time and they do not follow an agenda. Together we are six, each taking a different position on the spectrum of contemporary jewelry – from those who identify unquestioningly, to those who remain suspect, even one who necessarily despises the entire scene. Our strength lies in a diversity of convictions, an ungainly willingness to speak and to listen.
Collectively, we live 6,537 miles away from our physical point of origin, where our insular gestation lasted only 87 days and ended already three and a half years ago. At that point, our dispersion began, each of us landing in soils of varying depth and nutrient. But whether we now find ourselves in cultivated fields, shallow window boxes, or fighting for light amongst the weeds, necessity strings us back together.
Each of us seeks something different from the other and from our collective conversation, held as often in words as in objects. Some need deadlines; some need a sounding board or sympathetic audience. Some want to be tested, to be terrorized by extremes. Others want to feel important, and some feel perhaps too isolated and lonely. However, we have not yet whittled these desires to cohesion, though the need for branding has already begun. Perhaps the greatest draw is simply the desire to be understood, to be afforded the luxury to speak in our mother tongue and for the emanating objects to be heard and puzzled out.
So once a month, we visit the oracle. Each of us, individually, in our own homes, consults the portal that links our tunneled voices, our blurred faces. For a moment, our entire lives are stitched back together. We exist simultaneously in six different spaces and nowhere at all. The wormhole reopens to our past and our minds seize, trying to make sense of the time in between. Then, usually after only an hour or two, the convergence fades, the portals close, and we return to separate realities, but always with a new imprint to carry. We drag each other’s voices through our deep-rutted days, judgmental or supportive, as individual occasion requires. More so, we rely on each other as pre-committal partners in whatever immediate or long-term endeavor any one of us enters alone – both professional and personal, as the two are always and ever entwined.
In an over-connected world where friendship is degraded by networking and networking is embarrassingly mandatory, this is a connection we have chosen to cultivate. Though we run in different circles, retain distinctive priorities, and maintain diverging trajectories, we recognize the benefit of our familial origins. We have a shared shorthand. We run from similar parables. We desire a panoptic approach to growth, even within our tenuously built community of computer screens and times zones. And though we do not yet know where we are wandering, we are eager to feel our way through new terrains.
Old Dominion University
Cranbrook Academy of Art