Mushrooms > Diamonds
Unlike any other species, the strangeness of fungi survives the loss of innocence about the limits of nature. They trump the supernatural, their magic intensifying the more we learn about them. Mushrooms are the masters of alchemy - transforming the death of the forest into thriving ecosystems. Providing some of the most potent medicines not only for humans, but for animals, plants and within our earth. Mycellium connects entire ecosystems through their wide webs under the surface and are actively healing this planet within those webs. It is no surprise that they have been revered by humanity for many many generations for both their medicinal properties as well as their profound ability to connect us to non-physical forms. I truly see mushrooms as our allies and our ancestors and wish to bring their mystical powers into all of our awareness. Anyone else wish to honor the fungal kingdom with me??
My husband and I spend every Fall in Northern California foraging/mushroom hunting. I gather only what is in abundance and make my molds for the silver right there, in the woods. When making molds, I take several samples because 9/10 times, the mushroom does not properly print the way Id like it to. We also gather up the tiny mycena mushrooms and "press" them. I leave them in books with heavy weights for several weeks before recovering the shrooms and putting them on a dehydrator. I then take the dehydrated mushrooms and set them behind glass using an epoxy to seal the seam.
Worm Trackings - the shift
A leap in perception.
Although I have always been drawn to nature's fine details, my overall appreciation and understanding have drastically changed. These worm trackings have seeped deeper, attracting more and more of my attention. Their beauty is soft and most often missed at first glance. Their imprints are much more than senseless markings, but a message of thriving existence, of b r e a t h e, a symbiotic relationship between life and the decaying, a harmonious exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The mindless - yet conscious act of nature. I revere at the simplicity these markings offer. Worms are subtle miraculous beings, often dismissed as creepy crawly "gross" creatures. Truth is they serve a critical role in our ecosystem. By transferring the true form of these worm trackings into silver - wearable heirloom quality goods - my wish is to honor these disregarded beings. To find joy in simplicity, and beauty in the micro details.
People love trees, yet twigs are seen as debris beneath our feet and rarely used for anything other than kindling, much less works of art. The way I see it, these twigs are part of trees and speak the same language. You see a whole new world once you lay eye level on the forest floor. An intricate miniature forest of surprising organic forms and natural wonders can be found. I look for the hidden mystery in each twig. Scars, knots, worm trackings, rot stains and fungi debris. They all have a story to tell, who wants to listen with me?
Seeking out crystals that have only experienced life from within our earth. Their energy is pure, uncontaminated, and wise. These minerals radiate their connection with Mother Earth and tell a story that no human could ever create. We embrace their individuality. It isn't always about how perfect the point is, but the character within each stone. What excites us is the rutilations, inclusions, clusters, double terminated and rare growths.
Mining, if done in an unconscious manner, can actually cause quite a bit of harm and disrespect to the natural environment. Jay and I make a conscious effort to be respectful of mother nature's treasures and do our best to honor these minerals without harming the land. I take the time to feel into each stone, asking for approval to remove from the land before I do so. Often times, we leave behind more than we take. It is a beautiful part of the process and one that warms my heart to honor. Another way to respect the process is when we find clusters with nice big crystals on them, we don't even conjure the idea to try to break the crystal off. Instead, we leave it whole and honor it in the form it was offered to us. There are plenty of beautiful single points to go around without having to bash the clusters (as we often find marks from previous miners).
As for the cleaning process, there are dozens of ways and forums online on how to remove the clay, iron and rust deposits from these crystals. We have tried a few different ways, including the most highly suggested using oxalic acid in crock pots. However, the process was a huge turn off for us. Cleaning crystals with toxic chemicals seems like an oxymoron. Instead, though it may take MUCH much longer, we have found a solution that we prefer. We simply scrub them down over some warm water with a toothbrush, then leaving em out for the summer monsoon. Turns out, there are natural acids in rain that can break down these deposits on their own. Lucky for us, living at 7,500 ft in the mountains, just a few miles from the desert, we get plenty of summer rain from the mild summer monsoons. This method may take months or even years with specific clusters, and not clean them "as good" as the crock pot method but I prefer to keep their energy vibrations high, than for them to "look nicer". Plus, whats the rush?! these crystals have been hanging out under the soil for hundreds- thousands of years, whats another year or two to them anyway? For me personally, the small amount of orange deposits leftover on the crystal using the rain method, only gives them a truer representation of where they came from. I choose to honor these stains and perceive them as beauty marks.
Being that we live a nomadic lifestyle, we chase the seasons that our hearts desire. Though I have much love and appreciation for all four seasons, SPRING is my favorite for it is the rebirth of the land, bringing us a variety of life to admire. We have been fortunate enough to see small sections of the butterfly migration over the last two springs. It is a beautiful thing to watch these little ones flutter around like a stampede in the sky, but very unfortunate when they float their way into traffic. When I see this occurring in high volume, I walk the highway and gather the hundreds of casualties. They will be honored, ooo'd and awwww'd for the rest of time.
"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth."
My growth came when I realized that I do not have to experience life the way society has groomed me to.
It is really simple, this is where I find peace. This is where bliss becomes my natural state of being. Why wouldn't I structure my life around experiencing the wild if this is how it makes me feel? Life is what you make of it. You and only you, create your own reality. This is mine, and I cherish it deeply.
This is not a hobby, but a hard earned lifestyle. We have chosen to educate ourselves on how to eat wild in order to feed ourselves with the most nutrient rich, non gmo, non mass produced food. Harvesting wild food is the objective but as we have learned over the many years of foraging, we gain much more than "just food" in these experiences. We happy-dance, sing and radiate sheer joy every time we stumble upon a fruitful neck of the woods. Being a hunter-gatherer is honoring the web of life and participating in the harvest of wild meat and medicine when it is in abundance. Hunting is a sacred ritual that is a forgotten and misinterpreted practice that is engrained in each of our DNA, whether we tap in and embrace it or not. I feel my purest form of b e i n g when in the forest feeling every moment of NOW. Using all my senses, especially the sixth, intuition. It is easy to feel the deep presence of every tree/meadow/chipmunk etc. when you "lose your identity". I value the life of all beings as well as the cycles of life as they exist. We hunt because we care about what we consume. We want to know where our food comes from, and if we are going to be meat eaters, that the lives we take will be honored and harvested with compassion and with the promise of absolutely zero waste. It is about time I share our way of life without shame, because the stereotype of "trophy" hunters are only a small percentage of those of us who work hard to connect with the land, deepen our relationship with our ancestors and feed ourselves ethical wild meat.
I have never and will never combine my food harvest with my "forest finds" jewelry line. As my intentions for my food supply have nothing to do with my "goods from the woods"
rockhounding- I dont think this is the official definition, but in our book it goes something like:
play in the dirt, find a pocket, skip breakfast, lunch and dinner without even realizing it till the sun has set - go to bed feeling like you are 100 years old
(every time you put on an old pair of pants or a jacket you have not worn in a while, it has a 99% chance of having rocks floating around in the pockets)
Not all my scavenged-goods come easy. Though some of the bones I have harvested were found in the wild, due to natural selection, the majority are due to loss of habitat (in other words, due to our growth, our roads... roadkill). It really saddens me to find some of the most beautiful creatures mangled on the side of a road because of our progression as humans. There is always the cringe at first glance, then comes the heavy heart. It is easy for most to just keep on driving by, but not for me. I always make an effort to stop to rest the animal in a place a little more sacred then on the side of the road. I allow nature to take its course and feed before I return to carefully harvest claws from these creatures. A symbiotic relationship, for I can now honor this animal, while also allowing the wild to feed on the carcus, free of danger from the road. By taking only the claws, I am confident that I am not stealing any food from the wild. This process was born out of compassion.
Wealth is the ability to fully experience life
For us, that means enjoying nature, and living out the majority of the year in our stealth trailer, pop up tent trailer and out of the back out our truck. This way, we can chase desirable weather, experience the seasons, the migrations, and constantly explore.
simple lives are rich lives
Before I ever made my first pair of feather earrings, Silversmithing was my vision. I would dream up designs and sketch em out, long before I even had a soldering iron. I knew this is where I wanted to go, and I knew that I had a ways to go as a designer and jeweler. I found myself really enjoying this craft, growing, in love, with support. I thought to myself this is it, I found something I truly love, I get to be ME, create, live my life, and I am being received! I finally decided to dive into metalwork in 2015. I watched youtube videos, got a real life demo from my Uncle Clif, then off I went, soldering up some of my forest finds and locally mined crystals. It was ground breaking for me. Torches, fire, melting metal....it was all so exciting but my skills needed some fine tuning. After lots of trial and error, I decided to take up a couple workshops and discovered a whole new world. Ever since, I truly feel there are no limits. Now I find myself in a steady flow, inspired by nature, honoring the wild, making art in my studio (part of our cozy cabin in the mountains). What more could a gal ask for? I often reminisce on the days where I wanted to be exactly where I am, and damn, IT FEELS SO GOOD. I hope that sharing this inspires at least one of you to take the unconventional path, and truly follow your dreams. There is nothing greater than building a life around doing what you love.
browse my Fine Silver Shop for my latest fine silver work
Frolicking about the native plants, plucking leaves that radiate beauty and character. Waste not, want not! Preserving and capturing the beauty for you to enjoy in the form of jewelry.
It is a gift ¤
the chances of stumbling upon the exact spot that a deer once stood when he shed his horns is humbling in itself.
it completely twists my noodle to think about where this horn has been prior to shedding.
the places it has traveled while resting on top of a majestic creatures head
the wildlife it has seen
It brings wonder as to which nearby mountain this horn has treked up and down
which water source it returned to time and time again
which old growth it lied under each night.
It has gone on a lengthy, not always so plesant journey with a deer that has used it as protection against the low hanging branches in tight corridors, and most importantly used as a weapon, challenging countless bucks for procreation with the healthiest doe. If this horn could talk, what story would it tell? .
To me, jewelry is not just an accessory but an expression. Being able to wear something that has once lived the wild life is both grounding and powerful. No manufactured good can beat the wisdom & character that nature provides
It is seldom that I praise the wind and it's destruction, but strolling through the woods after a cranking wind storm leads me to a forest full of gifts and treasures. I gather all from fallen hives, loose lichen to busted branches, free floating feathers, seed pods and so much more.
Please note I have observed these hives for many weeks to make sure they were completely abandoned before I actually harvested them.
Endless Love for WILDFLOWERS. We chase the blooms from sea level to the top of the Sierras over the coarse of many months. The way these blooms breathe, fill my lungs with sheer happiness. Only plucking small amounts for what can be preserved, crafted into jewelry and enjoyed for the rest of time.