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WELL-MADE AND OLD SPHERICAL PUMTEK, 1.19 TO 1.58 centimeter diameters; note distinctness of patterns and the grain of the fossil palm wood, shown as black specks.

Erin Rivera Merriman





Jewelry artist and community creator Erin Rivera Merriman runs Bearhead Factory, her jewelry design business, and more recently Active Culture Family, a nexus of collaboration and a community of artists, from her adopted home of San Diego, California. She seeks to report on her inner exploration with outer extrapolation, putting out images from the dream world and the natural world interpreted as objects. Merriman is also a person investigating the problems of isolation, lack of inter-dependence, and an absence of human interaction in today‚Äôs modern world, and through trial and error finding what works for her. All are sure to resonate with many readers, as these are issues we struggle with as well. 


Where did you get the inspiration for your pieces? How do you feel artists put together a coherent voice, and do you think it is possible for “non-artists” to do the same?

I am a very introverted person. My work comes from my connection to the natural world and to the dream world, almost like a letter from a traveling loved one; this is what I am learning; this is what the landscape looks like. I have invested a lot of my life in developing hand-eye coordination so as to be able to do a passable job reporting on the things I encounter on my journey. I am always looking for patterns and seeking meaning from the stories or archetypes presenting themselves in my life. I think that art is a form of communication with our higher selves or true nature, and that it can actually provide a way for us to relate to the world from a less ego-driven place. I don’t actually believe in the idea of the artist versus the non-artist. I think we are all born with great potential for manifesting form with our creative energy. People may not realize that they are making choices as to how they allocate their creative energy. We have so many choices available to us, that living a creatively satisfying life becomes about knowing your priorities. For some, motherhood is a true artform, or cooking, or communication. It is possible to be a life artist, even if you will never be a fine artist—these outcomes just represent a difference of interests and priorities.






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