Polynesia is Genre’s theme this month, and they could not have picked one more dear to my heart. The big problem was choosing just ONE idea to make for the event, out of a long list. I knew it wouldn’t be “aloha wear” because I had just done that with the Royal Batik series.
I once lived in Hawai’i and have great love for the islands, and New Zealand is also one of my favorite places on earth, so I kept wavering back and forth between the two artistic traditions. Though some definitions of Polynesia do not include New Zealand, you can’t spend time in both of them without knowing how strong the linguistic and cultural links are between the Hawai’ians and the Maori. The one thing I was sure of was that I wanted to honor the traditional culture of whichever set of islands I chose – honor them without outright imitating them. And I wanted to also honor the natural beauty of these places.
So I looked for connections and commonality. Both cultures produce amazing carvings, including carved jewelry, and both cultures have art depicting the sea turtle. I have long had an affection for turtles, having one (not a sea turtle) in my life for over 20 years. In Hawai’i, the turtle is called Honu. I had my theme!
My Honu is more of an abstraction of the actual physical body of the sea turtle than take on traditional carvings. I realized I could cover both island groups with the choice of materials. Maori carved jewelry often uses bone and native paua shell. Hawai’ian carved jewelry is more likely to be wood, and koa is native to the islands. The third honu in black coral is kind of a salute to some very special long time friends, with fractal enamel, because, well, you know I do fractals.
This particular fractal is a variation from the series that includes the Owl Moon images. I’ll never stop tinkering with them. Other fractals play much subtler roles in the other textures, some plasmas and a thready Mandelbrot filament. Good luck spotting them!
Genre: Polynesia runs through August 11.