May 10, 2010
A Crafty Questionnaire: Anne Arden McDonald
Anne Arden McDonald is a photographer and sculptor who views jewelry, especially rings, as singular pieces of wearable art. In 2005 she created an installation in Milan of 300 orange and grapefruit seeds cast in bronze and polished into an olive pollen-covered floor. To commemorate the piece, she stitched 14 apple seeds together and cast them into a gold ring for herself. With that realization that she could cast anything, her exploration of natural elements and organic shapes and cycles expanded into a full fledged jewelry collection.
A woman of few words, Anne communicates through her work, creating pieces with content that are intimate, symbolic, and tell a story. She is particularly drawn to the intimacy of rings, as they travel with the wearer as tiny artwork through daily life and can be looked at all day long. Her photography, which is the subject of a new book, Installations and Self-Portraits, and her sculptural installations evoke the same kind of intense, magical interaction with the natural world found in her jewelry. In addition to her online shop Ardent1, you'll find Anne this summer at the Brooklyn Flea and in local boutiques.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Something to do with exploring a new place, or watching a giant print come up in the developer.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Because I was one of the best shots in my summer camp, because aiming a camera is a little like aiming a gun, and because she was good at something that was not considered ladylike, I'd have to say Annie Oakley. As a child going to a born-again Christian school in Atlanta, I idolized her. Later I got pretty into Isadora Duncan, for her work but also for the unfettered way she lived her life.
What is your greatest fear?
Painful death, torture, rape.
Which living person do you most admire?
Do you have a theme song, and what is it?
Not really. I listen to WNYC, WFMU and WBAI a lot, but my favorite bands are Rasputina, Yann Tiersen, Coco Rosie, My Bloody Valentine, Rosin Coven, and Krishna Das.
What is the trait you most like in yourself?
What is the trait you most like in others?
The ability to be vulnerable.
What is your greatest extravagance?
When and where were you happiest?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to reach out to people more and be less isolated.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Healing my damaged life.
If you were to be reincarnated as a person, animal, or thing, what do you think you would be?
What is your most treasured possession?
My cell phone!
Which talent or skill would you most like to have?
The ability to meditate.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Doctors, teachers...people who stand up against the odds.
What is it the one thing you dislike the most?
Selfish, loud, egocentric people.
What is your motto?
To create something not already found in the world around me.
Who are your favorite artists?
Cy Twombly, Ann Hamilton, Francesca Woodman, William Kentridge, Pavel Pecha, Ross Bleckner
Is there any invention you wish you had thought of?
What's the first thing you remember making?
Snapshots of sunsets and flowers with an Instamatic camera.
Learn more about Anne and her creative pursuits at her Etsy shop, Ardent1.