Monday, January 5, 2009

Promise of Spring

When I go for my long walks through my neighborhood and the surrounding stream valley park, I keep my eyes and ears open for ideas for my jewelry. Inspiration in terms of color is easy to come by in the spring, summer, and fall months, and I tend to view the world through my painter's eye. However, it is winter when the sculptor in me is more awake to possibilities. Although lovely color can be found -- in the bark of a tree, a bright red cardinal perched on a tangle of vines, the reflection of a bright winter sky in the still water of a mostly frozen stream --I look more for the shape and texture of things that emerge when the foliage is gone. Recently, I passed a dogwood tree and paused to marvel at the tightly furled buds on the very tips of the branches. Their shapes were lovely, but I was even more entranced by the thought that, deep inside, like a wonderful secret held in a tightly closed fist, lay the promise of the blossom that would emerge when the days lengthened and sunshine once again warmed the land.

Last winter, I made a series of earrings out of sterling silver wire that I called Winter Branches (see my blog entry: As labor intensive as they were, I enjoyed doing them immensely. The tree I passed on my walk inspired me to do something similar. When I came home that day, I sat down in my studio and began to draw shapes that reminded me of those dreaming buds on the tips of slender branches.

When I came up with a design that I thought would make lovely and graceful earrings, I set to work. Since this design is a little more elaborate than my Winter Branches design, I decided to use 19 gauge silver so they wouldn't feel heavy. Despite coming down with a debilitating case of tennis elbow, thanks to all the hammering, they turned out just the way I envisioned. Look for them soon in my etsy shop.