My girl, Callie Rose, and I take a few walks a day around the studio, varying our routes to peek in at different gardens to see what's up. Spring seems to be unveiling herself quickly this year, if you blink you may have just missed your favorite bloom. I am still peeved that a late frost ruined the magnolias as they would normally be the grand welcome of spring, but with irises and peonies putting on a show these hot days I am starting to accept it.
My original desire to share these photos was to have a reference to go back to remind myself to explore something new (white enamels!) and to simply share these gorgeous flowers with you. As I wrote the first paragraph I noticed there was more to my inspiration and that I need to start living by the observations in nature which inspire me as a maker. This inspiration needs flow over into my daily life, and not stay at the bench.
Living in New England we never know when the snow will start or end, we can't rely on a date when spring will emerge, snowdrops and crocuses give us a little warning but sometimes they get covered in snow again. Daffodils are usually a sure sign, but this year we got a late frost and some daffodils perished or emerged late. Trees bloomed but this year petals were brown along the edges. Right on cue leaves started to emerge and they seemed to follow their natural stages. Tulips seemed to fade fast, or maybe I blinked and missed them. Irises really put on the most fantastic show I have ever seen (I'll share some photos at another time). Lupines are pretty darn great, as are the columbines. But these peonies, they really won the show this year. These white ones are breath-taking. As someone who spends her time exploring color white is often forgotten. It is similar to my main metal, silver and I generally love a good contrast. Seeing these peonies with the most random bursts of pink got me to thinking I need to pull out some white enamel and start playing around. White is never just white, nothing is ever just as it seems, with further exploration I think white could have a strong presence and importance in my work.
As New Englanders we complain when there is too much snow, too little snow, it is too hot or too cold. (Pulling up my soap box, I almost never complain it is cold, add a layer or three, I almost never complain about snow because shoveling is a decent workout and if you have ever seen my dog play in the snow, you would learn to love winter and always want more snow. So, excuse my complaints over this early wave of heat.) Still we adapt, we layer up, spend time inside with loved ones, we get used to the cold wet streets, indulge in hot cocoa. We put on shorts, go for walks, get to the beach, sit under a shady tree. We plan things around the coldest or hottest parts of the day. We adapt to the seasons we don't appreciate as much and are resilient. As with magnolias maybe we hibernate a bit if we are really down but eventually we pull ourselves from the dirt, grow tall and bloom the best we can.
I am finding my way through a tough time. A lonely time. That late frost I spoke of, well it has been haunting me as it did the magnolias. Some days I try and bloom, just to emerge looking spent before I have even expended any energy. Some days, hiding is easier. Other days I feel like the loveliest, brightest and most showy bloom. Finishing an order, going for a run or talking to good friends really makes me feel like a bloom so lovely and heavy with love and gratitude that I may break the branch I grew from.
Every spring I am in awe of the strength in nature, all of this life was buried under snow, freezing in the earth, and out of nowhere a whole new world emerges. Some flowers need pruning and encouragement but either way, they will push themselves up through the dirt and try to rise up as beautiful as the last time they showed themselves. Some things in nature are more beautiful with encouragement as with people. We can make it on our own but love, support, honesty and guidance can help us to be stronger, more ready for the unsuspected frosts. There is a balance though, we can't over prune a rose bush and hope it flourishes as it did in past years. We need to listen, learn from mistakes and observations and adjust how we try and help others and ourselves.
There is something to be said for living in the moment but there is also something to be said for planning. If we didn't take the time to plant bulbs in autumn, what would spring look like? Sure autumn looks like a pile of fresh dirt but you water and care for it and in the spring you're rewarded for the time you spent caring for that piece of dirt when flowers emerge, bringing color and life back to our lives.
For me, it feels like autumn. What do I need to plant to have a brighter future full of growth and beauty. Where do I plant these bulbs? Where do I want to see the next spring? Who do I want to see it with? Or shall I be the only flower in the field? I do know that I want to emerge from the dirt, tall, strong, resilient, ready to be showy and beautiful.
How do I balance living in the moment with planning ahead? I don't want to miss something because I was too busy looking for the next field of flowers. Right now my heart tells me that I need to get orders out because I love my customers and checking things off a list feels good. I need to run, hike, camp and spend all the time I can with Callie because these things make me a decent human and a decent jeweler, they are like nutrients in my soil. In getting my orders out and making customers happy I get closer to my future. I can save for my dreams. So, the answer is back to pruning, not too much or too little water and while I am encouraging something to grow from a pile of dirt I need to look up and enjoy being under an umbrella of green leaves and smelling the flowers others have cared for.
The big debate are these flowers above, rosa multiflora or swamp rose? I say rosa multiflora.
This Callie Rose, she is my heart, she keeps me going. I am pretty sure her motto in life is, no matter what, just keep wagging that tail.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for encouraging me through this journey as a jeweler.