Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Jewelry and Metalsmithing
All material carries a past. Whether we acknowledge this lineage or not, it exists. It may be to our advantage — as a way of orienting ourselves in our world — to consider the cycles of creation and destruction intrinsic to the objects and materials that surround us. By deliberately pushing material into its next incarnation, and tracing the history of objects, I simultaneously reach forward and backward, determining my place in the world.
My experience as a jeweler has led me to an understanding that what is true for metal is also true for us: matter is neither lost nor gained. We, and our belongings and environments, are made of the same cycling material. Anything new only seems that way because its origins are opaque to us, its history untraced. I practice the tracing of material histories. This tracing reveals that the life of matter is more expansive than our singular lives; it encompasses us.
Made of organic and fleeting stuff, we are arrangements in a temporary state. We use objects to extend ourselves beyond the boundaries of our bodies and lifespans. In the face of our mortality, we send transmissions to the future, to the world after our world, through more enduring materials like metal.
I test my reality by tracing select materials across incarnations, assaying associated behaviors and beliefs. I practice the limits of my influence by pushing materials forward; compiling object transmissions that tell of multiple generations. I question how our possessions—our jewelry, personal objects, and homes—relate to the their roles and to their material. How do these abstract and concrete layers interact? As we change our material world, what does it change in us?
Tyson, Melissa, "The last objects" (2017). Masters Theses. 70.
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