Posts Tagged With: Nature

Autumn is definitely here!

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I went on a brief walk today, not far, just outside my door and along the road a little way, in search of a few leaves to work with. The sun was shining so I didn’t bother with a coat, but I hadn’t got very far before I wished I had!

Anyway I walked far enough to gather a selection of leaves – some hawthorn, silver birch and ash (complete with its keys) – which I’ve already started work with to create some new jewellery pieces. There will be some pendants and a couple of pairs of earrings too I think.

I also started work on some other new ideas – I can’t wait for the first stage of the clay to dry out so I can crack on! I just want to see how they turn out.

I love autumn – the colours of the turning leaves are inspiring and that lovely smell in the air puts a spring in my step. But sadly it means that the leaves will start to fall too – which in turn means no more leaves for my jewellery for a while! What will I do?!? Looking around today I noticed that the oak is still holding on to its leaves well whilst the silver birch is loosing them very fast indeed. If you’re after a piece of jewellery made from leaves at all – now is the time to speak up. At least I’ll still be able to use holly and ivy though:

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But then comes the spring and we can start all over again! But now I’m just wishing the time away xxx

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The Road Not Taken……

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This has long been my husband’s favourite poem but I can’t say I’ve ever paid it all that much attention. But now I have, and I love it. Which path should I take? And will it matter it the end?

The Road not Taken – by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

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If you go down to the woods today……

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Today with the sun shining we set off for the deep dark woods. After a picnic on a convenient log under a flowering rowan tree came a lovely walk through the trees of the Forest of Dean.

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The bluebells were ringing all around us and a little friend flew over to sing his hello – he sat so close for such a long time!

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These photos really don’t do it justice. What a lovely day full of inspiration.

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The story of a beech leaf………

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“A copse which had worn it’s firs all the year round seemed old and dowdy now beside the new green lace which the beeches had put on so prettily.” – A.A.Milne, Winnie the Pooh

It feels as though spring has finally sprung in my small corner of Gloucestershire. Everywhere the trees are bursting into leaf and almost overnight there is blossom everywhere. For those of you who know me, or have read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know that I have a thing for trees and leaves. And so it will come as no surprise to you all that I came over all creative when I saw my parent’s beech hedge just starting to throw open its new delicate buds in a vivid splash of almost lime green.

I took just a few leaves away with me to see if I could turn them into silver. I thought you all might be interested in the stages a leaf goes through from tree to a finished piece of jewellery – so here goes……..

Firstly it’s important to choose the right leaves for your purpose – I recently found a perfect heart-shaped ivy leaf that was just crying out to become a pendant – so I usually sort through them to choose the ones that will work best. I wanted to make a pendant and a set of earrings and so I chose three leaves.

The perfect shape for a pendant.

The perfect shape for a pendant.

After being washed, the leaves are painted with thin layers of a paste form of precious metal clay. I recycle all the left over clay in my workshop into paste I can use like this, so the end product is really rather green! Between each layer the leaves must be left to dry. How many layers depends on how thick I want the finished piece to be – usually around ten, but I always lose count!

How many layers? I've lost count.

How many layers? I’ve lost count.

When the last layer is dry I roll out a piece of silver clay and cut a rectangle to make a bail on the back of the pendant, I prefer this to drilling a hole through the finished leaf. Look at my glamorous piece of kit, the drinking straw! I always drill my earrings after firing as I find they work better this way.

A ball of clay about to be rolled out.

A ball of clay about to be rolled out.

This has to be left to dry overnight before sanding and smoothing and filling and finishing it to perfection.

Waiting to be sanded and filled to perfection.

Waiting to be sanded and filled to perfection.

Then I fire the piece by hand using a butane torch. The original leaf itself burns away leaving pure silver behind with the impression of the leaf print. The pieces are always white straight after firing – this is the pure silver in its unpolished form.

No - this isn't a leaf but there was no one around to hold the camera at the time!

No – this isn’t a leaf but there was no one around to hold the camera at the time!

I then brush the piece with my soft brass brush and polish and oxidize if I want, before finishing with a chain and earring wires!

So here they are:

Beech leaf jewellery by MoonRiver.

Beech leaf jewellery by MoonRiver.

Fine silver beech leaf pendant – £35 – Fine silver beech leaf earrings – £25

Ivy Leaf Pendant by MoonRiver.

Ivy Leaf Pendant by MoonRiver.

Fine silver ivy leaf pendant – £35

All prices excl. p+p – please contact me for details or to buy!

So there you are – now you know! I hope you enjoyed reading – I’m off to find some more leaves, I’ve spotted some lovely strawberry ones!

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Thoughts on Trees and the Turning of Time

Lately I have been thinking a lot about trees.

Many of the designs I have been working on are based around leaves and trees and as I’ve been out walking and collecting what leaves I can find at this time of year, I’ve been looking intently at the skeletal trees silhouetted against the sky and thinking that they will soon be bursting back into life again.

Trees are powerful symbols; look back at mythologies from around the world and you can find trees everywhere. They are strong, powerful, markers of time and the turning of seasons. They embody the power of nature in its creative and ever changing glory.

I’ve been working on pieces around the theme of the tree of life, most familiar to me from the pages of the bible and the story of creation, but also appearing in many stories from outside of the Christian tradition. Someone then mentioned that one of my designs made them think of the Tree of Gondor from The Lord of the Rings and this set my mind off in a whole new direction.

Trees are immensely important in the works of Tolkien and are used to embody nature and the problems of mankind’s misuse of natural resources. Tolkien uses the destruction of trees to show evil and greed and the replanting of trees as a sign of restoration and healing.  I could go on for hours, but the main conclusion from my musings is that we have an obligation to protect nature and that we abuse it and its natural resources at our peril. Whether it is even possible to protect the natural world alongside mankind’s insatiable march of progress, I do not know and only time will tell.

Next time you see an impressive tree, take the time to really look at it – remember its longevity – it was probably there long before you ever arrived and hopefully will still be there a long time after you leave.

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Musings on a frosty morning (or ‘the-times-they-are-a-changing’)

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Walking out on a frosty morning earlier this week, I found my self looking over the gate into this field. It looked beautiful; all crisp and white with the skeletons of the trees set against a winter sky. You can’t see it in the photo but there was a gorgeous male pheasant in the field – a welcome flash of crimson against the frost. Altogether it set me to thinking – the next field, the one just beyond the hedge-line, has just begun to be developed into a new housing estate. It used to look like this. This field has now become the edge of suburbia, the beginning of the wild. Behind me, about five minutes walk away is the local school – that too used to be a field (much to the surprise of my daughter when we recently did her local history project – ‘See that cow in that field in the picture? That’s where your classroom is now’).

Change isn’t all bad, change and development is often both necessary and inevitable. It only makes me realise just how much we should all probably look around us as we go – we don’t know when it won’t be there anymore.

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Inspiration is all around for those who choose to find it.

Inspiration is all around for those who choose to find it.