Sunday, October 12, 2014

I (heart) Moss!

My inspiration comes from the surrounding environment, the places I walk through each day.  Some paths I will travel countless times and other spaces I will pass through only once.  No matter where the walk, one of the simple elements I am most often drawn to is moss.  I cannot resist its texture and softness.  I am fascinated by its complex microscopic form.  From afar, it can paint any landscape with a lush green brush.  One of the oldest plants known to earth, moss is found on all seven continents and collectively provides more carbon offset than all the trees in the world.  I often collect moss on my walks to transplant into my yard.  

Needless to say, it is one of the organic forms that I spend time exploring in my jewelry studio.  Working with ground silver mixed into a paste form, I have recently revisited moss and its potential to be preserved in the silver.  The problem is how delicate it is - how do I keep it from "shredding"? and how do I get it to hold a form that won't collapse before firing?  For a recent series of pieces, I wanted to work with the moss in a dense design and began by soaking it in the silver slip and then draping it around paper straws for it to dry.  As it was drying, I would manipulate the shape and continue to slowly layer the paste.  The paper straw gave the saturated moss a structure to hang from, and being paper could be fired in the kiln to burn out - leaving a clean tube on the interior to run a chain through.  Before firing, holes were drilled to pressure set 4mm CZs.  After firing, a dark patina was added to create contrast and allow the the intricate textures to be more pronounced.  It was then set on a simple cable chain.  These have much potential and are continuing to evolve in my studio.

Really like moss?  Check out one of my favorite blogs for some inspiring photos of what you can do with moss at Moss & Stone Gardens.   

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