In our present issue of The Polymer Arts, there is an article about focal points–that place in a piece of art that the viewer’s eye immediately finds or continuously returns to. There are many ways to establish a focal point and our article discusses the more common ones. Jacqueline Cullen‘s bracelet, shown here, is an example of yet another type of focal point, one that is undeniable. In fact, you almost can’t pull your gaze from the central focus of the piece.
This strong focal point is created by tension. We have granulation in gold which, in contrast with the black, already would draw the eye. But, by bringing the two textured ends together, just barely touching, Jacqueline has also created tension. We want to see more certainty in the connection, more undeniable strength especially with such a strong solid band created in the rest of the pieces structure. But no … we’re denied that and so we see that barely-there point as tense. We as humans are drawn to tension, whether we like it or not. (If the popularity of reality TV with all it’s confrontations and drama is any indicator, many, many people really like tension!) That’s why this focal point is so strong. If you are after a really strong, impactful focal point on a piece, this approach will almost certainly do it for you.
A note on this interesting black material. It is called Whitby jet and is basically a prehistoric black fossil that is usually associated with Victorian mourning jewelry, a trend started by Queen Victoria who wore it when she went into mourning for Prince Albert. It is not mined much today making it a rare material. Jacqueline is the only contemporary artist working with this material in a non-traditional manner. Pretty cool.