Our new show “The Fifth Element” is inspired by Japanese Buddhist philosophy. According to this belief, everything in the universe is a manifestation of five great elemental building blocks. Nothing in existence is seen soley as one element or another but is a complex combination of all five. To each element are linked many qualities and attributes. The Five Elements in ascending order of power are:
- Earth: hard, solid things which give substance and are resistant to movement or change.
- Water: fluid, flowing, formless things that adapt, grow and change.
- Fire: energetic, forceful, moving, transformative things.
- Air: things that grow, expand and enjoy freedom of movement.
- Spirit, the Fifth Element: Also translated as Sky, Heaven or Void, it is the highest of the elements and encompasses those things beyond everyday experience, things comprised of pure energy like thought or creativity. It is power, spontaneity, inventiveness and connection with the creative source.
The metalsmith’s art is uniquely suited to this elemental theme. The metal is extracted from the earth, air is needed to fuel the flame, which is used in the soldering process to connect metal to metal. Water cools the metal after heating and the fifth element, creative energy or inspiration, is what the metalsmith contributes to the process.
When choosing stones for my jewelry pieces in this show, I considered color, pattern, texture and how closely these aspects matched how I envisioned each element, as well as where the stone originated and the emotional and medicinal benefits people have attributed to stones over the centuries.
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