The mental image of a pirate's booty is a chest buried to hide its contents of gold, jewels, and other riches. This assemblage instead represents the moment that treasure fills the trunk.
The "treasure" here is a cascading necklace designed with pink seashells, apatite (a semiprecious stone), freshwater pearls in several colors (teal, peach, and plum/magenta), and Murano glass beads. Counterbalancing this waterfall is an elaborate depiction by Luca Della Robbia of lilies, petunias, and other plant life rendered in lilac, cobalt and green against a rich gold background.
While working on Pavonia, I had come across a set of four elaborate depictions of flowers by Luca Della Robbia. I had planned to use one of them in "Pavonia," but that assemblage headed off in a different direction. Instead, I constructed "Treasure Chest" around one of them.
Della Robbia's lilies, petunias, and other flowers feature lilac, cobalt, magenta, light green and dark green, while my necklace features pink, plum/magenta, teal, and aqua. Without matching precisely, the colors of the flowers and vegetation blend well with the colors in the necklace against which they are juxtaposed.
Custom framed with museum glass in a sophisticated deep wooden frame in collaboration with Chevy Chase Art Gallery, Washington, DC.
Price: USD 2,500.
Frame color: Silver
Size (in inches): 12 x 10 x 4
Though many designs appear simple, each work in fact takes several months to create. The final version is rarely the one initially envisioned; the laws of gravity force numerous adjustments. Execution involves a multitude of skills, some of which are acquired specifically to achieve the desired artistic result. In fact, it took several years of experimenting before I even hit upon a technique for creating assemblages.
The framing process is itself a component of the work, both conceptually and artistically. Though the frame is clean and modern in appearance, the framing process is not as simple as it seems. The determination whether to create a "room" (as with Born Free) or an intimate atmosphere (as with What Price Silence) is in fact part of the artistic process.
Works are custom framed to provide sufficient depth to accomplish my artistic goals as well as to support the weight of the work (often 40-60 pounds). The 4-inch deep decorative wooden frame curves outward to bring the work closer to the viewer.
As many designs are supported by the base as well as the backing, the framing process can be tricky. It took several months of experimentation to determine how to create a work that it was practical to frame. The glass protects the work from damaged caused by dust and dusting.