Never trust a person who doesn't appreciate a good walk, hike, or meander through the woods.
My day job involves working from home, which is a huge blessing, but it can also mean that I work up a hell of a case of cabin fever every now and then. Not being a hugely social person, at these moments I tend to flee the house in search of parks instead of humans. And what does a girl like me do when she's taking these hikes? Well, she collects bits, of course. Sometimes it's just one or two things, sometimes it's a couple handfuls wrapped in the front of my shirt and weighing it down like a sagging potbelly. I'll come home with any number of natural wonders: hawk feathers, flaming red maple leaves, shards of bone, a squirrel-gnawed walnut, a rusted-out nail, or--if I'm really lucky--a trilobite fossil.
Here in southwest Ohio we are rife with fossils from the Ordovician period---that's 450-500 millions years old! Whole cliffsides are just stratified with them. Erosion and time ensure that our creeks are always teeming with brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, gastropods, and horn coral. Talk about treasures!
Several weeks ago I was taking a hike at French Park, one of my favorite local parks. Being autumn, the leaves were turning and falling and the tree nuts were doing the same. I came across a grove of massive oak trees and the forest floor was littered with--you guessed it--acorns. I'm sure no one will argue that an acorn cap is quite possibly Mother Nature's perfect bead cap. Now, I've always seen jewelry makers dabble with cast metal or ceramic or polymer clay acorn caps. But what about using actual acorn caps in designs? I picked up a handful, inspected, checked for hardness and durability, and then decided to take some home to play around with.
Back in the studio, I drilled a hole in each top and gave them a healthy coat of wax to help preserve and waterproof. It seems so elementary and so obvious, but it feels so...right. Here's the first pair I came up with, featuring a pair of deliciously grungy sawdust fired ceramic beads made by our own Claire Lockwood of somethingtodobeads. I strung everything on a couple of my fat pitted copper headpins and topped them off with wee black filigree bead caps and a dot of blackened silver solder.
Just goes to show, art can be found in and created with just about anything, even the most humble of finds.
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