originals

Original handmade jewellery has a truly unique and spontaneous feel to it. The aura that surrounds it is something that no other jewellery has. It houses the evidence of  the hand and a personality of uncontrived expression. Much like a snowflake it is entirely unique and will never reoccur in the same form. Original jewellery holds the intention of joyfully and freely conforming to the artist’s initial inspiration. It tells the story of process while never being a means to an end. It is pure and fresh and unencumbered by responsibility to anything but itself. Originals are within the realm of ‘the perfection of imperfection’, ‘happy accidents’ and allowing.

The concept of the original is sorely missing in consumer culture. One of the consequences of factory fabrication and mass production is a fundamental lack of vitality, realness and meaning in an object. The eye sees perfection and appreciates it, but for most interest fades quickly after the initial gratification. Many of these concepts and truths came to the surface as i pondered the leaf series of earrings and pendants. Each piece is cast from a natural leaf and each leaf is an original found in the environment. Each one was chosen carefully with a sensitivity to interesting and unusual qualities and forms.

In reproducing the leaves from their natural state into sterling silver i looked at ‘nature casting’ techniques that were quite popular in the 1800s and still used to the present. These techniques are capable of recreating delicate natural elements and their details quite precisely. While the results are quite beautiful it was not what i was looking for with this series of work. I was more interested in increasing the feel of heft in the leaves lending them an increased level of wearability as pendants. The feeling of substance while maintaining the form was important  as well as a sculptural almost abstract quality. After a bit of experimentation i came up with a technique that satisfied my structural vision as well as discovering  a gorgeous frosty and pebbled organic texture that covered the entire surface. A wonderful ‘happy accident’.

Humankind has always been intrigued with the leaf. Many peoples, organizations and cultures have used it as a prominent symbol. The leaf today has actually become a kind of cultural archetype and an emblem for life itself which wouldn’t exist without it. Photosynthesis, the process through which the entire planet  is fed through the creation of oxygen is channeled through the leaf. Leaves and the plant realm are food and sustenance for the majority of the inhabitants of earth. Varieties of leaves are also found across the entire globe and utilized for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. Mother nature does not create a problem she cannot solve. Leaves have been and are considered spiritual and blessed by many. To the ancient druids and celts the oak tree along with it’s leaves was considered magical and very powerful. To the greek the laurel leaf is a symbol of victory and strength.

The image of the ‘green man’ is ancient and a symbol of regeneration and rebirth whose entire face is composed of a single leaf. Green man also represents the spirits, elementals and guardians of trees, plants, flowers, foliage and shrubs. His image can be found adorning architecture and churches (both secular and ecclesiastical) as well as medieval and contemporary art.

The single leaf signifies fulfillment, happiness, peace, unity and life.