For the piece seen above, Pearl & Vine, a wild cucumber pod was "slip-dipped" in the milk thin metal clay paste described in earlier posts. This process is both slow and messy, but does produce delicately detailed results.
The wild cucumber is a vining native annual that is in the cucumber family, but not actually edible. It has some resemblance to the cultivated cucumber as it grows oblong on the vine, but the spiny fruits ripen to a brown color and burst to eject its seeds for next season. Left behind to dry are complex layered pods. These encapsulated forms have hidden chambers revealed through their lace-like paper thin layers, allowing light to pass through. They are reminiscent of the sort of images found in Ernst Haeckel's Art Forms in Nature prints from the late 1800s (image below). For this piece, fine silver wire was set into the pasted pod. Once fired, green freshwater pearls were set on the wire, mimicking its color origins. This distinct piece clings to the sterling silver neck ring, echoing its once wild ambitions.