Brooke Battles

Born in Oklahoma, I have lived in ost regions of America over the years, but California is home, and was home from my first visit in 1976, even though I was not here permanently until 1983. Now, dividing my time between Rockridge, Inverness and Ubud, Bali, my places all offer up beauty beyond anything I could imagine as a child in dry, flat, brown land.

Having attended Colorado College and Stephen F. Austin State University and earned degrees are in Journalism and English, my first career was as a college teacher and my second, a corporate marketer (for many years on both coasts). But in 1994, the corporate world became too much – too driven, too male, too impersonal, too competitive. Once I quit and sat still for a while, there it was. Beautiful jewelry. One-of-a-kind pieces. Art in wearable form. I wanted it, and I wanted to make it.

With basic classes at City College/San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Richmond Art Center, Mendocino Art Studio, seminars here and there, I started setting up a studio. No art degree. No formal training. Just some basics, a studio, and me. Quite by chance, gardening and metalsmithing captured me at about the same time. And to this day, I am simply mesmerized by the way things grow up out of the earth — the way they adapt with great resilience to their particular little universes. Thoughnature is predictable (plant a rose, you get a rose!), it is also reckless — it flings its elements about so that nothing ever happens quite the same way twice. Though the search for the perfect rose drives many people, for me perfection doesn’t have much personality. I prefer the rose that, in some strange nuance, in some peculiarity it offers up, captures my imagination. That will be the perfect rose for me.

Then gardening took a back seat to architecture. Renovations and homes and creating interior (and internal) spaces took over my life and became the matrix in which my art was formed. My work became more architectural, but no more sleek because architecture may be more predictable than nature, but not by much. Architecture at its best is personal, imperfect, and constantly changing. Like life, like nature, like people, it shows the effects of age, experience, vulnerability, imbalance, limitations. And in its connection to the earth and structures and all that protects us, my work is an exploration of the female spirit. My shapes are rounded and gentle and full to bursting with some elemental essence of life. They are pregnant, they are yearning, they are nurturing and peaceful. I strive for each of my pieces to seem like a dear friend who, for some special and perhaps indiscernible reason, captures a heart and lives on there.



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