Suffering aside, does being an artist make you more sensitive?

I continue to ask this question twenty years into my work designing jewelry. Art as business is not for the faint of heart. You need the armor of a warrior, the stamina of a long distance runner and a wide open heart that greets each day with renewed faith.

My career began with a whirlwind experience of being at the right place at the right time, a small collection of pieces made with coveted treasures from years of collecting, and was the beginning of integrating a life long love affair with my offering to the world. 

The blush of the initial success morphed into the task of constant reinvention within the confines of a signature, and I began to think a whole lot more about the seasons and trends and everything else that, while valuable, can dim the creative spirit. The strange push and pull of being current and original is nothing new. If anything it’s old as dawn but nothing short of toil, especially in the fashion biz.

One day a Japanese buyer came into the wholesale showroom in New York where my work was represented. Through an interpreter, the man asked to see and then hold some pieces from my collection. After a few moments the soft-spoken gentleman told my rep that he could feel the heart of the person who had made the necklace he held in his hand. I never forgot the touching compliment, the sensation of heat in my chest, or that moment when I first considered the possibility that a willingness to feel deeply may have a connection to doing my best work. 

Does feeling deeply or for that matter witnessing humanity with compassion make for better art? 

I don’t know exactly. But I can tell you that whether I’m solidly in my groove or wondering why I don’t get a job like other people, I believe the intangible, energetic qualities that come through and find expression in the pieces I make have their own story to tell.  Meanwhile, the lovely memory of the Japanese gentleman still conjures a warm feeling and a pressing question. I’d love to hear your thoughts…?