10 months, 5 days, 3 hours and 46 minutes ago I packed up my workshop in Boulder, CO and headed west to catch a plane into the unknown. I have counted every second since then, for in the back of my heart there lived a constant aching to return to the craft that I had left behind. If there was one thing that I had missed more – this was it, the freedom to create from the mind and construct with the hands. With Boulder long in the dust, my shop is now finally starting to take shape in the deserts of the Southwest.
After unpacking my saddlebag and examining the jewelry pieces designed from over a year ago, I quickly began to realize that I needed to rethink the look of The Redwood Series. The sizes of the pieces were originally constructed on the basis that they would hold live plants and water in them. After building several prototypes the idea proved impractical but the concept stuck and so a line of large moss jewelry began. Now it’s time to change and simplify, and here is what the process looks like…
Jewelry design begins with a concept. You need an idea to work with, whether that is a mood, a color, texture, sound or memory. In my case I was inspired by the Redwood forests of Northern California. I loved the straight lines of the giant tree trunks, the dark brown textures and the incredible greens in the moss and lichen growing on their sides. I wanted to create pieces that had this same memory in them. Working from last year’s concept I am taking a few pieces and modifying their size, the elements used in their construction, and the packaging they will be placed in for shipment.
In an effort to increase the jewelry’s environmental sustainability I have found suitable non-toxic glues, water based natural wood dyes, a fast growing wood type that is sustainably harvested, and an organic extra virgin coconut oil that will serve as the final finish. The packaging will be as minimal as possible using 100% recycled materials and the absolute minimum of marketing info: a water-based stamp instead of printed business cards . Redesigning with the right materials will allow me to produce these pieces with less of an impact on the earth and at a lower cost to my customers.
It is extremely important as designers that we consciously create in an eco-friendly manner. Good design should always consider sustainable materials with minimal impact on ourselves and the environment. The next time you consider buying a piece of jewelry or perhaps designing one of your own – ask how the piece will be made, with what materials, and if it is possible to create a similar item without toxic elements.