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Focus on fashion: Natural Elements

Jewelspan artisans use natural elements in their work

Natural elements blossomed in the jewelry on the runways this season. The natural environment is big right now, in new lines of eco-conscious jewelry, as well as in fashion that celebrates the eternal wild beauty of the world around us. Nature has always inspired poets and artists, and this year feathers, sticks, stones and leaves are finding their way onto our necks, wrists, lapels and into our hearts. Jewelspan artisans tell us their methods and motivations for adding natural elements to their work.


Kathryn Babboni of Katrynka Ink manages to combine wild and sophisticated in her elegant, finely-crafted line of brooches “smoke and feathers.” She has always been a collector of natural objects “such as stones, bones, feathers, shells and metal. I have found these pieces of the Earth to possess spiritual healing qualities that have a profoundly positive effect upon one’s being.” When she creates an artwork from her collection of natural and found objects she is “viscerally reminded of the exact moment I happened to discover that particular shell, feather or stone. I get to immerse my senses in the memory of the hike through a favorite forest on an autumn day, or relive the sensations of walking along a secluded beach in another place and time, invoking nature as I walk the memory lane…I get to revisit the delight I felt on the day I was gifted an antique piece of jewelry that an ancestor wore, and to savor the heartfelt connections to people now passed.”


Linda Marsden of Bronze Goddess Jewelry incorporates bronze “twigs” in her necklace Picket Fence II. She tells us that “living with nature has always been a large part of my life. As a child, country life was my favorite part of my growing up, and I still seek it out in the things I do every day. It was a natural progression to reflect the shapes and colors of nature in my designs. I will often make textures from natural things like tree bark and leaves. My Picket Fence II necklace combines branch coral and bronze ‘sticks’ that have the texture of bark and trimmed-off branches. I think the warm gold color of the bronze works especially well with the black of the coral.”


Little River Design's Lynn Graham’s passion for nature inspires her art. She created her oakleaf necklace “…in honor of the autumns we have here in northern New Hampshire. I'm an avid outdoors person and an artist. I hike and kayak and snowmobile and bird watch so I spend a lot of time outdoors in all seasons and see such beautiful things that I have to express this in the only way I know how, and that's either through painting or my jewelry. I use my designs to celebrate the seasons with different themes and color.”


Chris Eisenberg of Wanderware created a bead embroidered/woven necklace called Refuge, which was inspired by the book of the same name written by Terry Tempest Williams. Subtitled “An unnatural history of family and place,” Tempest’s book is considered by many to be one of the most significant environmental essays of our time. “In my piece, as Terry does in her book, I choose to use the bird and the tree as symbols of family and place. Natural elements motivate my creative impulses frequently and Tempest’s poetic descriptions of epic places and events moved me so deeply that I sought to emulate them in my work. One of the most profound quotes in the book is captured in this piece,"I pray to the birds because I believe they will carry the messages of my heart upward.  I pray to them because I believe in their existence, the way their songs begin and end each day - the invocations and benedictions of Earth. I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love rather than what I fear. And at the end of my prayers, they teach me to listen."

Timeless and up-to-the-minute, elements from nature make an unforgettable addtion to any jewelry. They evoke memories, summon spiritualtiy and connect us to our past and our earth. 



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