Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In the past year or so I've discovered and quickly fallen in love with Calcite. Calcite is a carbonate mineral commonly found in limestone that is formed by dead marine organisms such as shell, sponges, and algae. In addition to sedimentary rock like limestone it is found in marble, mineral deposits from hot springs and the remarkable stalactites and stalagmites found in caves.
Calcite is most commonly found in shades of yellow and orange, from pale yellow to dark amber hues. It has a buttery and creamy look and feel to it - a bit waxy seeming in fact. Less common are shades of blue, gray and green. My favorite examples of the stone are the dark yellow/orange tones in slabs or thick nuggets. They are luscious. Smooth, waxy, dense, buttery, warm.
There is a warmth to Calcite that just keeps drawing me back to it. My hands are repeatedly reaching for these stones...They seem to serve as a natural worry stone. I'm particularly taken by the large eye-shaped faceted slabs in the first photo. When I sit down to create my hand inevitably wanders to the growing collection of calcite that sits two stretches to the left of the labradorite and just right of the amethyst. The stones that I often pair with Calcite are carnelian and turquoise. They are beautifully matched with coral and brass as well. There's something about the way these elements work together that seems to deepen their effect that is satisfying on so many levels. For me there is the experience of deepening warmth and reaching far into soul that is hard to put into words.
And, if all that weren't enough, it's Metaphysical Properties are said to enhance one's physical and psychic energy and to provide soothing and grounding. It is also said to help manifest dreams!
If you haven't found your way to Calcite yet, I suggest you check it out whether you are a jewelry wearer or creator or both! It is sure to satisfy.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I've been in the process of co-creating the EarthBorn Jewelry Market at 1000Markets. The Market is a product of a wonderful collaboration between Manny of Mannybeads and Diane of Izis. It has been such a perfectly-imperfect process! What a thing, to blend ideas and concepts in the spirit of collaboration and creation, respect and appreciation...All in the hopes of manifesting in as beautiful a way as possible...A Vision!
When I began finding my way about at 1000Markets Diane's shop caught my eye immediately. Her Ancient Glass work, the type of stone she chooses for each piece... So much of what I am drawn to in jewelry design was there, in her shop. And that Ancient Glass...Something about it stirred up in a me a feeling similar to what I experience when working with the Tibetan Mala beads that I've written about in a previous post.
Diane and I started sharing some of our feelings about the elements we use in our work and somewhere along the way started to hatch an idea for a new market. And here it is!
A short while ago Diane kindly shared with me some of her Ancient Glass beads and after sitting with them for a bit, this design took shape. It integrates elements from each of our shops and hearts. And look how beautifully they fit together! Diane recently spoke about how the pieces seemed to blend the essential elements of Earth and Water and I think she's right. There's something that happens in the creative process when you commit to working collaboratively that enhances the creative product in expansive and delightful ways.
The piece we highlight here is a new creation and a symbol the making of this Market and we think of it as a cornerstone for what we hope to be a successful and supportive collaboration amongst us all, here in The Earthborn Market. For us, this pendant is a symbol and reminder of the power of collaboration, focused intention, and Trust.
These are the roots of this market...collaboration, focused intention, and Trust. And these are the elements that we will continue to aspire to at Earthborn...between each other as we grow this Market and between each of us and the visitors who find their way into our beautiful shops.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
There's something about these beads...Perhaps it's that they've had a past life as devotional markers, or guides. Perhaps it's that I'm drawn these days to things that help my own journey to find the paths that are meant for me be they clearly marked or quite obstructed. Or perhaps it is simply the less flattering fact that I am one who can get rather attached (insert obsessive, fixated...or maybe passionate, focused).
The Tibetan Mala Beads that I use are salvaged from the remains of old Tibetan Prayer Malas. Malas use many different types of beads made from a variety of organic materials. The beads that I am most drawn to are made using Yak bone. The most common bead of this type and that I use most often have a beaded band of Copper or Brass inlay or inlay of alternating chips of Turquoise and Coral. I am particularly fond of the beaded bands of Copper and Brass. The beads are usually 12mm across but may also be as wide as 20mm.
I love these beads. I love wondering where they've been, whose hands have moved over them in prayer and meditation, smoothing and softening the inlay of brass and copper. There seems to be an endless perfect pairing, just right matching of them with stones that I have about my work area. Each pair of earrings I create using the Mala beads is a variation on this favorite theme Tibetan Mala Bead. In this series each earring pair is unique and waiting to be claimed by they're rightful wearer. They seem to move on quickly, too. So there's something about them.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Here on this snowy Vermont Saturday morning I'm thinking about Indra's Net. The story of Indra's Net seems to be showing up in my life in many surprising and not so surprising ways. Gifts of spirit and kindness received this season, words chosen for a dying friend, joy felt when laughing with loved ones, a nod and smile from a frenzied stranger shopping for those last holiday items...
Indra's Net is about connection. I'm drawn to connection despite how profoundly I am also drawn to solitude. Perhaps that is why I am often clumsy and imperfect in my attempts to create it or respond to the invitation of it. Yet despite my stumbling, opportunities for connection continue to come in countless ways each day and are found at every intersection like the gems in Indra's Net.
The story of Indra's net is found in the Avatamsaka Sutra. This Sutra is one of the most influential Mahayana Sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The text describes a cosmos of infinite realms upon realms, mutually containing each other. Here is a brief translation:
FAR AWAY IN THE HEAVENLY ABODE OF THE GREAT GOD INDRA, THERE IS A WONDERFUL NET WHICH HAS BEEN HUNG BY SOME CUNNING ARTIFICER IN SUCH A MANNER THAT IT STRETCHES OUT INDEFINITELY IN ALL DIRECTIONS. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXTRAVAGANT TASTES OF DEITIES, THE ARTIFICER HAS HUNG A SINGLE GLITTERING JEWEL AT THE NET'S EVERY NODE, AND SINCE THE NET ITSELF IS INFINITE IN DIMENSION, THE JEWELS ARE INFINITE IN NUMBER. THERE HANG THE JEWELS, GLITTERING LIKE STARS OF THE FIRST MAGNITUDE, A WONDERFUL SIGHT TO BEHOLD. IF WE NOW ARBITRARILY SELECT ONE OF THESE JEWELS FOR INSPECTION AND LOOK CLOSELY AT IT, WE WILL DISCOVER THAT IN ITS POLISHED SURFACE THERE ARE REFLECTED ALL THE OTHER JEWELS IN THE NET, INFINITE IN NUMBER. NOT ONLY THAT, BUT EACH OF THE JEWELS REFLECTED IN THIS ONE JEWEL IS ALSO REFLECTING ALL THE OTHER JEWELS, SO THAT THE PROCESS OF REFLECTION IS INFINITE
THE AVATAMSAKA SUTRA FRANCIS H. COOK: HUA-YEN BUDDHISM : THE JEWEL NET OF INDRA 1977
Maybe this sutra has such meaning for me because of the particular metaphor used. Jewelry making for me is so many things...Sometimes it takes forever to complete a piece simply because I'm in such wonder at a single gemstone mined from the Earth and miraculously here, in the palm of my hand. I feel such profound connection to the organic roots of each stone...I think that's why I prefer stones that are a bit more rough-cut, and irregular rather than a more uniform and finely polished bead. For me the latter feels too far away from the Earth...too removed.
Perhaps the promise of a more quiet season may contribute to the quiet nature of these peace and transcendence that my Snowy-Buddha's face inspires prompts these thoughts. Anyway, I am grateful for connection and solitude. Today.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Yet another season has passed since my last post...But I think I have a system. I seem to be a "Seasonal Post-er". Not sure if that's a disorder or what, but looks like a personal trend and seems to work.
I've added many new items to my shop lately and most recently are holiday themed pieces. I recently found these amazing rough-cut, irregularly faceted Ruby slab/nuggets that I really love. I love beads that are rough-cut, unpolished and irregularly faceted and these are a standout. The Citrine used in the Ruby Citrine necklace was a great find as well - thick, roughly faceted with many inclusions.
The Amethyst is another great example of what I'm drawn to - the nuggets are rough, stone faceting is irregular and one bead is unlike the next. They look great with the more uniform Chalcedony square.
There. I've met my seasonal requirement. Such a recalcitrant blogger...
See you in the Spring.
Monday, September 22, 2008
So here's my every-other season entry. I will try to be better about it...Maybe even bump my stats up to monthly but don't want to get ahead of myself.
Been busy creating and here are some pics of my new favorites. I've discovered and quickly fallen in love with Calcite. It is most commonly in tones of yellow and ranges from light pale yellow to deep amber hues. It has a buttery and creamy look and feel to it - a bit waxy seeming in fact. Often tempted to take a bite out of it but luckily, resisted.
Looking at these photos, these pieces are clearly Summer-Inspired!! I created them when Fall seemed pretty far away, and here it is nipping at my heels. The oranges warm me up a bit, just looking at them...
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I thought I'd mention that I've been drawn to some really lovely beads taken from old Tibetan Prayer Malas. I think my interest in them has much to do with the extent to which Tibet has been on my mind and in my heart of late. Seems as though all manner of things are stirring up for Tibetan people and as is often the case, that "stirring" is bringing things to a high, chaotic pitch. My hope is that the truth of Tibet's story not become distorted in the midst of the high passion and energy that's getting expressed. Those who "stir things up" are often discredited for their "stirring". Anyway...
Back to the beads. These beads are exquisite and come in very different styles, shapes and materials. I am most attracted to the yak bone beads that feature metal or gem chip inlay. I'm posting shots of the items I have in my shop that integrate these great beads.