Ann Davis: Muse Personality

Each month I try to interview a new artist to find out what makes them tick. They are in fact my Muse Personalities! I want to know what makes them creative, what zap their creativity, what they are working on now and find out a little about how they got from here to there.

I invite you in to this chat. Grab yourself a cup of tea or java and savor their experiences with me! Plus you are welcome to comment and ask them follow up questions, and I’ll do my best to have them respond.

This month's Muse Personality is Ann Davis from Virginia.

Ann Davis: Muse Personality

Ann, tell me a little bit about you and tell us what you are passionate about:

I'm a metalsmith by education, a glass artist by passion and a metal clay artist because I couldn't help myself! My work has been in many books and I still write the occasional magazine article. But now I run a small teaching studio in Virginia where I try to nurture budding jewelry artists.

What is your primary medium and the date you first remember working with it?

Silver, I was 18, just starting school, but I had been collecting pretty stones since I was a child.

Who have been your mentors, instructors or professors that have helped you with your medium or your business?

That would be my Aunt, she was a jobber, a wholesaler who represented 5 American Indian tribes. Her house was always full of jewelry, gobs of turquoise and coral and native American silversmiths.I grew up in that environment. And my grandfather, who started me stringing pyracantha berries before I started kindergarten.

What is your inspiration now?

The Higgs Boson and the Large Hadron Collider. My passion is rooted in physics and the passage of time in the universe. No matter how small the particles are, no matter how tiny we can see by stopping time in an instant on a photographic plate, it seems to be a self organizing universe, life always prevails, movement is unceasing. Time is never ending, circular.

Do you have a muse?

I would have to say Cellini, his work takes your breath away. Miro, a minimalist, the line told the story and Rousseau who painted with passion and abundance, I'm fascinated by every brushstroke. It's also been a very interesting journey, getting to see all of their work up close. I'm intensely visually oriented and when I walked into a room full of Rousseau paintings, I was truly in a state of bliss, I had to sit down, the color and emotions he painted were that overwhelming. A joyous day. And I love the early Rothkos, the sunsets, again it's all about the power of color. An interesting aside is that the last works of Rothko are in a tower of the Smithsonian. I went to see them, they covered entire walls, really huge, intensely depressing, I never knew there were blacks so black. The walls were literally screaming with pain, I had to leave. It was later that I realized that he had painted those right before he took is own life. Hopefully he left all his pain on those canvases, they haunt me still.

What is currently on your bench/workspace?

Pinolith Jasper is what's on Tonya Davidson's Muse Personality Ann Davis's bench

Some very rare Pinolith Jasper rocks waiting to be cut.

What project/direction are you working on now?

Electroforming some of my wax carvings and staring at the Jasper, it's starting to speak and tell me it's story. That's necessary if you want to cut it and respect the stone and the eons it took to make it. Honoring the passage of time is somehow in my being.

How much time do you average at the bench per week?

About 15-20hrs a week. I probably spend more time on the classroom and website work.

What's the average time you spend on a piece?

Oh wow, it could be one afternoon or a week depending on how complicated the piece is…or years, I still have the fist cabochon I ever cut, that was over 40 years ago and I haven't set it yet…how's that for length of time on one piece?

Do you sell your work?  and where?

I used to at shows and galleries in the US and Europe and I used to do a lot of production casting but now I'm spending so much time running the classroom and teaching privately. It takes me longer and longer to make a piece but I'm enjoying it more and more.

Where do you get your new ideas?

The beauty of nature is a big one, anything that lives in the ocean, but I can never leave it alone, I like to alter it with a little twist. It's like this is how I would have made it if I was in charge of making the universe.

Do you keep a sketchbook and how do you organize it?

I have a bazillion sketchbooks, I just stack them up. I've been keeping them for 40 years, I just draw whatever comes to mind, usually when I'm meditating thoughts knock so hard I have to set them free by putting them on paper. I go through furious periods where I can't draw fast enough and then fallow times when I can't draw at all. In those times I go back to my sketches, do triage and start constructing a piece. I also have many, many 3-ring binders full of photos and technical articles. I love process.

Are there places or things you avoid that zap your creativity?

Drama of any kind. Shopping malls :)

Do you have a ritual before you begin to create?

In the morning I do. When I get up I think of a song for the day, often from a Rogers and Hammerstein musical because how can you not be happy when you are singing? Then I feed the pups, feed the birds, have coffee and write in my journal and remember to sing all day.

What do you collect?

Rocks, salt and pepper shakers, friends. And that all makes for an interesting journey, I search for rocks and make friends, I search for antique salt and peppers and I make friends. The journey is more important than the object you are seeking.

How do you rejuvenate your creativity?

By doing something completely different with friends, usually that has no connection to my artwork. And quite often, by sitting and listening to the birds singing. We have a wildlife refuge park and lake a half a block from the house and there are many rookeries and beautiful large herons. It's like crack, I can't get enough of nature.

What would your perfect creative day be like?

Wake up with a song in my heart and an idea that I've dreamed. Spend the day with all the windows opened, making stuff. I would have all the supplies I needed, the pups would let themselves in and out and someone would bring my meals!!!

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8 Responses to Ann Davis: Muse Personality

  1. i loved reading about you Ann, and i feel the same way about shopping malls! your teaching studio sounds like it is filled with light and love as well as learning :)

  2. I've been lucky enough to take two classes at Ann's studio, both with the lovely Wanaree. The studio is so fantastic, and I love treating myself to classes there. Ann is always so welcoming and so willing to share knowledge. And I even got to peek at the Pinolith Jasper last time I was there! Ann, it was so nice reading a bit more about your inspiration!

  3. Ann, I think we are kindred spirits. So many similarities between us! Next time I come down for a class let's start with a Rogers & Hammerstein song. :)

  4. Ann: I have always loved your work. One of these days I will come back and take a class with you at your studio. I loved reading about your inspirations. Ann XOXOXO

  5. I love Ann's morning ritual – a song for the day. Music makes me happy, but I don't listen to it often enough. Ann has inspired me to change my routine and include music daily. I'm sure it will open the creative door to my world. Thank you Ann and Tonya.

  6. Ann, … and I thought I knew you sistah! Such a well deserved interview. I love teaching at La Ruche Davis Studio. See ya next week. My wrist is so much better… I'll take a year of physical therapy tho. Hugs and kisses to all.

    Tonya, thanks for this.

  7. Awwwhhh Thanks Ladies!!! I was so honored to be asked!! Tonya is the best:))

    Can't wait for you to get here Friday Lorrene!!! We're gonna Mokume Gane everything!!!

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