Summer is drawing to a close, and hints of autumn are starting to creep into my jewellery designs. I’m very influenced by what’s going on the natural world around me, so I tend to produce floral designs in the spring and early summer, then start on seed pods, berries and leaves as soon as the nights start drawing in.
My latest design is really anticipating the arrival of winter, when the trees will be bare, and the pale trunks and branches of the birch trees will be revealed. The birch is a fascinating tree, with a wealth of folklore surrounding it. Known as the Goddess Tree, or Lady of the Woods, it is associated with growth, renewal, rebirth and protection. It is one of the first trees to show leaf in the spring, and its wood is purported to ward off evil. Birch sap can be tapped and fermented into a drink, and the leaves have a long history of use in folk medicine. Take a look at this website for more information about the myths and uses of the birch tree.
Sadly, we don’t have any extensive birch groves around us, but there are some individual trees, like the one pictured above, and it was their beautiful slender, ghostly pale trunks, with their distinctive darker markings, that inspired my silver birch pendant and earrings.
The rectangular shapes were cut by hand from sheet silver, then marked with the thin edge of a hammer. I oxidised the finished pieces, so that they turned a slate grey, then carefully polished the surfaces, leaving the dark oxidisation in the hammer marks only. I think that I’ve captured the pale silver-white of the trunks, with the contrasting darker markings of the peeling bark.
They’re elegant, very modern-looking pieces, with a deceptive simplicity to the design. Take a look at my Etsy online shop for more information, and for some different images.