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AJF Live with Aaron Decker

July 16, 2020

By United States

Art Jewelry Forum is expanding its efforts to connect more directly with the jewelry community. We’re not moving away from print, but are expanding more into video. One of the ways we’re doing that is by hosting live chats online. We’re planning artist studio visits, live chats with gallerists about shows they’re hosting, interviews with curators and authors, artists interviewing other artists, and programming tied to various jewelry weeks from around the globe. We’ll record them and post them on our website.

This video, featuring Aaron Decker, was recorded on July 16, 2020. At the beginning of the conversation, Decker gave shout-outs to several different organizations: the first two were the Fulcrum Project and Crafting the Future. The third was Commence Jewelry; email for more information.

Writing is an important part of Decker’s process. After the event, he sent AJF examples of a poem and prose to publish with this video. Here’s the poem:

Keychains clanging
Keepsakes against the steering wheel
Playing on loud.
Funny patterns
And plastic pieces
Assembled into the jewelry
Of objects on the key ring.

Both the poem and the next piece of writing clearly show the influence of memory on his work.

Kodiak Alaska : In a dozen details

A. Decker. March 26th, 2020

  1. The way you got into town was driving through what’s called the sailors corner. A stretch of road that wrapped a mountain on the side that faced the ocean, about 150 feet up. Of which the slate wall left lovely heaps of its face in the middle of the road so if in the winter you were driving too fast, and the road too icy, you would join the sailor’s fate in the ocean.
  2. At the end of the island, driving through the bear laden countryside, was a beach. Fossil beach. A place where the earth fell into the ocean and left exposed walls of tiny animals, easily seen and scavenged. This place was about 15 minutes from a nearby satellite launch area. On this field trip we sifted for gold in a nearby river that went out to sea. So we weren’t disappointed, we brought our own gold.
  3. My 3rd grade class took a tugboat of a ship out to an island about 30 minutes off the coast of Kodiak. My mother, other adults and their kids, all climbed up on a boat to be released onto an island where there was a campsite for us to stay. We learned to hail down planes on a beach on the east side of the island using a CD. Looking through the center holes up at any flying objects in hopes that the sun’s rays would bounce off and they would get a reflection. Who has CDs on islands anyway? On that day we found fiddle heads in the forest.
  4. My first girlfriend’s name was Dawn, she always wanted to hold hands—I still hate holding hands.
  5. The only grocery store was the military commissary. It was 6 floors of shops. Grocery on first, outdoors supplies and a Hallmark on the second, the Hallmark had an especially tasteful beanie babies display. After the second floor I can’t recall any others.
  6. We ate breakfast after church every Sunday. My parents weren’t so much religious but had to be social out of necessity and to “fit in.” The church was plopped on a part of the base that was more wooded. I can recall a hill behind it that had a clearing at the top. Kids would often hang out back there. Once, I got in trouble, but can’t recall why. I think it was because I was being mean.
  7. I experienced only one earthquake. It sounded like a train that is speeding by. Imagine it, you’re standing about 2 feet from a train track, minding your own business, trees around you, gravel crunching underneath your feet. Your stick makes a sound of ting when you hit it against the tracks. First you feel a brush of wind, and then you taste something bitter. BOOM the sound whips you to the ground as the physical presence of wind suddenly appears. All nature is gone and you hear only steam, and the hammering of the wheels pistons as it passes by. As quickly as it came, it’s gone. And you stand there listening hard for the residual sounds to disappear, the distance, or the shaking continues only in phantom sounds, and fallen items.
  8. I remember flying to Kodiak. We took the tiniest, not a Cessna, but basically a Cessna, plane. The ride was super rough and all I remember was the taste of  cheese the image of snow being melted off plane wings. I lay on my mom’s lap holding a mini snackable, the one with pretzel stix and nacho cheese. The wings had to be dethawed on the plane but I can still see the image of someone spraying liquid onto the wing, I didn’t get what was happening at the time.
  9. One night when we didn’t have a house and stayed in a hotel, my mother woke up and said ‘mom, is that you?’ to her dead mother. “pat, you smell that,” she said, “its my mothers perfume, she’s here.” All I remember is my dad complaining we had to sleep in a smoking room.
  10. My next door neighbor was cool, and he could make hawk noises by breathing in really hard in the same manner one coughs. Compressing your esophagus with the addition of force, in this case, internal. It was awesome.
  11. Blueberries grew around the whole island. Each time I went from my house to a friend on the other side of the development, I walked through bushes of berries.
  12. We had to keep small dogs inside, the eagles tended to pick them up and eat them.


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