During the recent run of applications for holiday shows/sales, one show application sensitively asked if applicants would like to share any information about themselves, their work, and/or their process that links their work integrally to their experiences/identities in the world--essentially an invitation to self-identify, if the applicant was to choose to do so. It was heartening to see this question on the application (props to Halifax Crafter's Society) and pointed to the organization's purposeful attempts to make space for and welcome artists across spectrums of race/class/gender identity/sexual orientation/ability/age, etc.
Below is a brief explanation of how this creative work has fit into and supported me, personally, in numerous ways over the last handful of years, as prompted by the above mentioned question. I'm sharing it as part of a continued practice of learning to shy away less and lean in (be out) more:
In 2010, I'd had my jewellery-making tools packed away for several years while focusing on other facets of my art practice. I dug them out again after facing frustrations and stress around being a new parent and not being able to make ends meet via the inconsistent income I was managing through (many rejected) grant applications and local contract work in the arts & doing youth work. During this time I was also grappling with deepening personal explorations of gender and queerness. Turning to this work [making Fervour's Own Jewellery] became both a means by which I was able to help support my family, and a creative medium through which I was realizing and rooting into my identity as a non-binary person. Essentially, I came out through this work, and as such it stands as a commitment to creative expression and a celebration of multiplicity and the complexity of personhood & identity. My hope is that this resonates through the work am putting out into the world, and that folks might find empowerment in the act of adorning themselves with a piece that reflects some of their glorious intricacies.
"...to be an artist is to create a home for yourself in your work regardless of how many times your identity has been split...." -Jess X Snow
The following article "This is What Gender-Nonbinary People Look Like" by Meredith Talusan shares some personal explanations of what being non-binary can mean and look like for some folks.