I hope that you’re not tired of jewelry posts because there’s one more for the month. This set is inspired by my May calendar watercolor by Vikki Chu.
It’s one of my favorites in the calendar because it’s a riot of blooms, leaves, seed pods, ladybugs, and snails! I love the snail. There was so much material to work with in this piece. One of the things I liked about the painting was its sense of scale. It seems to be from the perspective of an insect – the flowers tower high into the sky, vines trail upward beyond sight, leaves are the size of rowboats! It’s a big scary world for an insect. They are tiny little creatures, but all together they make up the majority of biomass on this planet and insect are crucially important for proper functioning of ecosystems. Aside from bringing beauty and variety to the world, they participate in nutrient cycling, waste management, pollinating (fruits, veggies, flowers), and serve as the foundation of the food chain. Plus they are really cool! You’re own backyard is a veritable treasure trove of nature drama! Wasps parasitize spiders and caterpillars, laying their eggs on the unfortunate host and when the eggs hatch, they eat the host! Ants shepherd flocks of aphids! Other ants act as farmers, cultivating special underground stores of fungus as a food source. Honey ants have special members of the colony that engorge on honey so that they’re abdomens swell to many times their normal size and then they slowly release the honey for the colony to eat. Ants are amazing! (I spent a semester in animal behavior class studying them). But our insects have it hard and it’s getting harder. Parasites, disease, widespread pesticide use and chemicals all take their toll on these delicate tiny miracles. But the good news is it’s easy to help them. We can’t all save pandas, but we can all take simple steps to make yards a safe haven for our insects (and spiders too!) You can plant native species which provide food, homes, and places to lay eggs for many beneficial insects. It’s great fun to assemble “insect hotels” from small pieces of wood or other porous materials that give insects cover. Plant flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Put out shallow dishes of water during summer for insects or other small creatures. And keep your lawn as free of pesticides and chemicals as possible. In turn, other animals will benefit by having insects to eat – frogs and birds will especially thank you. Ok, now that the ecology lesson is over, we’ll return to art.
It took a while to narrow down the color scheme and images that I wanted to use in the jewelry. There was so much to choose from that I was concerned about overwhelming the design. I wanted something lush, but not frenzied.
The focal point of the necklace was the pendant that I had purchased a couple of years ago from a line of jewelry components at Michaels. I paired it with lots of glass flowers, leaves, and rounds in colors of salmon pink, sage green, and pale yellow. Hiding among the leaves and flowers is a little handpainted ladybug charm. Can you spot the snail? A little handpainted mollusk shell is dangling from the pendant along with some glass and ceramic beads. I still really enjoy painting charms.
I hope you enjoyed the artwork and my representation of it in jewelry form. Remember to look for the ordinary miracles hidden in the small things around you this week – even in a ladybug resting on a leaf.
Blessings to you,