The Creative Process

Jennifer Kalled’s jewelry is profoundly reflective of the artist who creates it. It is, in every sense, gracefully defiant, unapologetically bold, and relentlessly exploratory.

Kalled’s two most recent series: ‘Meditation,’ and the latest ‘Willing To Burn’ reflect a private journey, each step of which required of her immense personal and professional daring to take. According to her, ‘Willing To Burn’ grew directly out of the obstacles overcome while she completed ‘Meditation.’ The pieces in ‘Meditation’ ascend heavenward, striving for perfection with slender – and artistically ideal - elegance. Radiating purpose and intention, each peace hangs against one’s heart looking in. This period in Kalled’s creative journey is marked with the intensified strivings of an artist resolute on achieving perfection. 



 Heavily vertical and emphatically precise, ‘Meditation’ “relies greatly on the stones to communicate.” These pieces, composed of closely hanging stones, cradled in the grasp of thin gold fingers, exude a deeply penetrating introspection. Ornate and uninterrupted, they are perfectly balanced in a self-contained and perpetually gathering motion, drawing up and in. Kalled described her personal evolution during ‘Meditation’ as one of “realizing the limitations of being human.”  

 

The evident shift illustrated by Kalled’s artistic development during this time, records a cathartic redefinition of her relationship to life and art:

“Struggling for perfection in art is as ludicrous as struggling for perfection in life. How pretentious we are, to think we know exactly what is perfect. We limit our lives exponentially with the misperception that we are the only ones bringing our gifts to the table, orchestrating the whole production. You really must let the gifts of whatever medium you are participating with reveal themselves to you, and that will only happen when you are giving that medium the liberty to do the unexpected.

“Rather than investing all my effort into achieving the result I had in mind, I had to step back and let the metal perform on its own, and then, and only then, was I able to cooperate with it, and discover an entirely new realm of what I could produce. I simply had to let go of the control I had, for the sake of something better.”

After twenty-five years of striving to control the temperature of the metal she worked with – which enabled her to determine every detail of every design - Kalled decided it was time to allow the metal to melt and shape itself, thus ‘Willing To Burn’ was born. It is the artistic product of a person identifying a stifling grip, and allowing it to loosen. 

“Be patient and without rancor and believe that the least we can do is to make [our] evolving no more difficult than the earth does for spring, when it wishes to come.” * 

‘Willing To Burn’ features streams of melted metal, rippling and spinning around each focal point like tongues of liquid gold, licking the edges of the stones. These pieces magnify the life inherent in each stone, accentuating elements of beauty that participate in the realm of sensation. With dynamic color and texture combinations, each piece dances in a pronounced contrast. 
This new phase presents a paradox that is vastly confrontational, yet joins in a unity with its own seemingly opposed elements. Each piece erupts in a riot of sensuality with organic and treated stones lying side by side. Rather than confusing its impact, this relationship makes a visual statement like a crashing cymbal, as one’s eye searches to ascertain whether they are warring or making love. 

In retrospect, the story illustrated by these two series unfolds. The deep penetration of every piece in ‘Meditation’ illuminates a building pressure that forced Kalled’s art beyond precision. Finally it split open the limits of expectation and burst, with a feverish eroticism, into the crescendo of ‘Willing To Burn.’ 

Kalled’s passionate exploration of the human experience leaves its mark in every piece she has produced, regardless of the time period. At times it seeps through in a soft trickle, while at others, like a geyser, it bursts forth, uncompromising, shamelessly human, and incurably infectious.

 




 

“What is keeping you from hurling [your] birth into evolving times and from living your life as though it were one painful beautiful day in the history of a great pregnancy?”* 

Kalled challenges individuals to defy the boundaries that inform their self-perception. She crafts jewelry that dares you to wear it, and then gives you the permission to be daring. 


* Quotes from: - Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet