Priscilla Martinez
Inspirational Start

Inspirational Start

What’s my inspiration, you ask?

For me, it is storytelling, and the more personal and detailed I can get, the better.

These past two years with all its challenges gave me much to reflect on. The isolation of quarantining, the uncertainty of financial means, or of health risks – either to me or to people I love. Even the craziness and polarization of the political environment was a civics lesson for all of us.  

Then there were the huge losses, and the re-discovery of priorities.  It was an opportunity to find a better balance of finding where I fit in all of this, and what is important to me in these very moments. It was an opportunity to interpret the words “to find out who we were, (and) who we were becoming”, and apply them to myself. My thanks to an up and coming poet I know (my sister!), for that profound quote.

With all these challenges, I look at the glints of shine, sparkle and hope, hiding just beneath the surface. Examples would be the resilience of my dance students, the ones who adapted, took the precautions they needed, and constantly showed up. Their fidelity showed their commitment to their art, and to themselves. The routine of class offered them solace in familiarity.  From that I tried to tell their story in movement and dance, in a special piece of choreography they performed. I also shared my gift for storytelling with them, by enabling them to discover the story teller in themselves through their emotional connection to the movements.

Those emotional connections also carried over to my jewelry work. Where people I loved and lost found their way into my work. From the things they enjoyed, to the things they professed, those traits and loves became embodied in a few of my most recent pieces – such as the sunflower and chocolate diamond ring. Sunflowers were my mother’s favorite flower, and chocolate diamonds were her favorite stone. We lost mom in February.

In a different jewelry piece, I “collaborated” with a client. We chose to tell her story, and we did it though her stones. She had tragically and unexpectedly lost her husband  of 35 years this past year, so we took her wedding diamond and clustered it with diamonds gifted her from her husband’s mother, along with a few diamonds of her own.  The symbols that are represented, and their emotional connection to the client, are palpable in this ring.

Another piece was an amethyst trillion, with black and white diamonds pendant, in a scattered and errant design. The people and stories represented in those shapes, colors, and are extremely complex and almost too painful to even put into just a few words. The symbolism is multifold. The wearer received this piece as a surprise gift from me, where I chose to tell her story, with a deep expression in jewelry.

Since my mother’s death, my sisters and I cleaned out our childhood home. It is full of my late parents’ possessions; and we discover things from many of our family who have gone before us – our grandparents, our great-grandparents, even aunts and uncles. And of course, we find things from our own pasts.

From these trinkets, photos and a gazillion memories, I find myself drawn to telling the hundreds of stories waiting to be told in whatever art form is spurring me at the moment. It might be dance, and it will definitely be jewelry. What story do you have to tell? Perhaps I can help you tell it?