The great enthusiasm with which I committed to my part of this project (fundforlamjung.org) took even me by surprise.
However, looking back on the influnece that Nepal had on my work, the depth is undeniable. I lived there at an age when I was just developing my voice as an artist, and a little bit of Nepal is infused into everything that I do, even if it isn't immediately obvious.
Even though it hasn't been very long since the earthquake, since I began fundraising, since I decided to be part of the rebuilding team, I have already had many requests to combine my jewelry with the fundraising efforts.
So, I present to you, three pieces, with a portion of the price going to Nepal. One is a completely new piece, the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles. I declare him the icon of this project as we hope to proceed with very few obstacles!
You can see the three pieces below, with all the details of the Nepal inspirations and the donations connected to each piece.
Here is the magnificent Ganesha. For anyone starting a new path in life or a new project, he is the first to give offerings to.
I have had a variety of custom pieces lately, that I have put my heart and soul into. Pieces that give me such a strong connection to the owners of the pieces, as I worked intensely on them to make sure every detail fit them perfectly. In an inner and outer kind of way.
One of the designs, I actually suggested to the client. He is a big fan of Ganesh and I just knew he needed a gold and ruby Ganesh. He enthusiastically agreed and there may have been some yelling for joy when the package arrived.
Another client had been given a tennis bracelet with aquamarines, which was totally unremarkable. The stones became totally transformed in this cuff that features a box clasp. She had the old bracelet in a safety deposit box. Now she can wear it to conquer the world, and paired with the Valkyrie Wing Ring, it becomes even more powerful.
My spot on my site to request your own custom piece is here.
There is more though. and this isn't about jewelry.....
In case you haven't seen what I have been up to via social media, the last few weeks have been a bit of a strange adventure. Starting with $300, Western Union and some supplies on a train in India.
Let me back up a bit. It was 20 years ago that I went to Nepal as a 19 year old student. My first time out of the country. In the early part of the year, I went to a village in Lamjung for the fall festival. I fell head over heels in love with Nepal, this village, and this family that hosted me. Here is a picture of us together at that time.
He has assembled a team on the ground in Nepal while I have secured a non-profit sponsor here in the US,and moved from the temporary fundraising page to a new website, a home big enough to house our much bigger project.
We have $2000 ready from the total of $4000 in donations we have received so far, and we will be able to build our first new house with that fund. A great start!
I have a jewelry business, I am building a village in Nepal. I don't really know how these two things are going to fit together, but I felt strongly that I should share>
My heart is full with all of these things. The art and the mission. I hope your heart is full too
I used to say that jewelry was invented at the same time that we were learning how to master the use of fire, but with this recent discovery of eagle talons that had been clearly manipulated in order to be worn as jewelry, the time frame for this particular invention got pushed back 100,000 years to 180,000. You can go read more about this discovery in Smithsonian Magazine.
What does that say about our current culture of trendy pieces and DeBeers pushing diamond jewelry as a prize for the obedient wife? To me, it strips this primal human urge and we completely miss that potent charge. The guys, for the most part, get left out of the fun of adornment.
The more I think about this history and purpose of jewelry, the more I am asked to make pieces that connect with our past, whether through bear teeth or gold. Pieces intended to beautify, yes, but also true talismans. Giving energy to the wearer, reflecting their life, their potential.
I wanted to share a few of these with you, and as always, if you would like to get on the calendar for your own piece of custom expression, you can head over here to learn more and fill out my form.
When the client first emailed me, she sent along the most stunning photo of Greek filigree gold earrings. Just spectacular examples of early goldsmithing, when the tools were hard to come by and soldering was done on a charcoal fire.
At the beginning of the year, I chose for myself the word "daring". As a maker of talismans, I felt that I was perhaps lacking in this area, I needed my own talisman for daring. I intended it to be my Warrior of Beauty ring.
What does being a warrior mean to me? Well, nothing to do with fighting, but everything to do with being completely committed and not willing to give up on something that is held dear. It also requires the willingness to step out in front. Not an easy task at all. Sometimes raising the white flag of surrender seems like the comfortable path.
Mughal Archer Ring
My fascination with archer rings from Mughal India goes back at least a decade, since I first came across them in books of Indian Jewelry. Here was a ring that had a practical purpose. Yet, in the 17th century, they were also made with very little practical purpose, as they were encrusted with rubies and emeralds, unlikely to stand up to any serious archery.
This combination of the warrior lineage of the ring style and the exquisite adornment, well, it was the perfect match for a Warrior of Beauty. I began this ring back in January when I picked my word, but I went through a few different iterations before being satisfied. Here is the side by side view of the wax carving with the finished ring.
Mine has rubies too!
Whether you are a Warrior of Beauty too, or you need another talisman for your purpose in life, I am here for you:
This summer, I have been going deeper into my mission as a Warrior of Beauty. A large number of very special custom pieces have graced my bench, and my heart and soul have been poured into making each of these pieces into treasures that the reflect the wearer.
Going into the fall, I will be making some pieces to add to my collections, but my custom design clients are keeping me quite occupied. If you want to get a spot on the schedule, make sure to reach out.
I have a shared a couple of recent designs at the bottom of the email, but I also wanted to share the link for my Instagram account. If you follow me there, I share a sneak peek into the daily happenings in the studio.
For example, a collage of images the I have shared over the last few months:
and I finally found the DVD of my appearance, about 10 years ago, on HGTV. Luckily, there was an easy way to convert the format. and I uploaded it to YouTube. The video gives a great overview of my process. It was a pretty major undertaking, with many hours or prep. I had to many versions of the locket in various stages of completion (they didn't have time to have me actually make the entire locket that day), and yet, it took about 8 hours of staging and filming to create the segment that is shown. No, I didn't know they were filming me eating the bagel.