Leah Ball

Leah Ball makes marbled ceramic homegoods, art objects, and a line of Feminist as F*ck fine jewelry.

Artist jenny kendler

“I offer this as a formula of reenchantment to invigorate poetry and myth: mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit.  Splendor awaits in minute proportions.”

- Edward O Wilson

y mentor Steve Kreichbaum would refer to the work of a metalsmith as an exercise in tedium, alluding to the care and patience required of the practice. In today's modern age we find many pieces of jewelry drastically removed from this practice, as makers use more machines and industrial processes to alleviate tedium.

While visiting with Jenny Kendler and browsing her personal jewelry collection, I am constantly reminded of the human artform that is metalsmithing. The pieces she has collected carry the undeniable mark of human hand - small repetitive charms, rich with elaborate detail work that exhibit the artfulness of tedium.  One can assume the makers of Kendler's jewelry were very much in awe of patterns and detailed expressions possible by the human hand; and the rawness and purity evident by their earnest practice can similarly be seen in Kendler’s work, imbued by those thinkers and artists she has pulled inspiration from.

Ecologist E. O. Wilson says “humanity is exalted not because we are so far above other living creatures, but because knowing them well elevates the very concept of life.”  Biophilia, as popularized by Wilson, is “the urge to affiliate with other life forms,” and is a large influence in Kendler's work. For her, artwork is a way to engage, explore, and mystify her relationship with the natural world.  By sculpting natural oddities such as a vintage porcelain bird with a meticulously painted tetrahedron head, she bewilders our impression of something natural, thus allowing our childlike emotions of awe and curiosity to take over.  Her pieces are whimsical, mysterious, and complex, challenging the viewer to contemplate their affiliation with nature.

hile admiring her personal jewelry collection, I understand how the selections reflect her artistic pursuits. She is drawn to these pieces because they relate to the human condition and our innate need to create and participate, in our own way, with the natural world.  Her urge to affiliate beckons her to work with her own hands and cultural history to cultivate awe, inspiring others to explore their own unique surroundings.

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Copyright Leah Ball LLC 2017.