summit this way

Two years ago I set foot on my first trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and celebrated my birthday at 6288' on Mount Washington. At the summit we were in the clouds but that didn't stop me from smiling. Though my hike wasn't easy I loved every step. My eyes took in sights I knew I would never see at sea level and with this realization I decided to set a goal to hike all of the 48 4000' mountains in NH, as many hikers in the northeast do. I am currently at number 30 and am in constant awe of all the beauty I see on the trails and summits.

This collection of enamels is inspired by the colors I have seen on the trail. Granite colored rocks are accented with shades of lichen so bright it looks surreal. Nature is a true artist.

green lichen

green lichen

black moss lichen

black moss lichen

mycena orange mushrooms

mycena orange mushrooms

This is the start of a new series called summit this way. What started with capturing the colors I see on the trail will morph into re-creating shapes in metal, playing with more colors on a larger surface, and finding a way to create the textures of the Whites into metal. It seems fitting to have all of these ideas coming to fruition as I am packing up my old studio to move into a new place. A whole new trail is at the ready for me to explore.

xo, kim

These necklaces are part of my 30% off sale. Use code MOVINGSALE at checkout.

Inspired by white and the resiliency of spring

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.

peony

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.

peony

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.

peonies.jpg

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. 

peonies.jpg

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.

peonies.jpg

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.

peonies.jpg

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. 

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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. 

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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.

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The big debate are these flowers above, rosa multiflora or swamp rose? I say rosa multiflora.

callie rose

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. 

xo, kim

Sunrise and Moonrise

Two new pieces have hit the shop. Both are inspired by two adventures which turned out to be more awe inspiring than I ever thought possible. One was a backpacking trip which led me to watching my second sunrise in my life. The other was a run where I set out on a route to watch the sunset but was more enchanted by a full moon rising, so I changed courses to chase it.

my sunrise necklace and the moment in time which inspired it

my sunrise necklace and the moment in time which inspired it

Here is the long version to my story of watching the sunrise at 4315' above sea level. It was one of those moments in which you wish time would stop because you know that you will never see this work of art again. The moment, the colors, the feeling, everything, will never be the same as it was that morning. That feeling was absorbed into my being and I wanted to find a way to share it. I made this necklace with one brass sun nestled between two pieces of silver. One is textured to represent the undercast the sun rose from, the other is tough in texture, like the rocks I sat on to witness the new day rising before me. 

my moonrise necklace and the night that inspired it

my moonrise necklace and the night that inspired it

One day a few weeks ago I was having this day where nothing on my jeweler's bench was going smoothly. Maybe the solder wasn't flowing, or enamels were cracking, I can't recall. I can recall looking at my pup and telling her, I am going to go for a run and will come back a better person. There couldn't have been truer words. I changed quickly, knowing the sun was going to set soon and I decided to run over a bridge hoping to watch the sun set behind the city on one side or over the water on the other -either was fine as I have no sense of direction (yeah, I get lost often). As I was driving towards the bridge I saw the full moon rising above the town on the other side of the river, so I chased it. I ditched my route to make the most of chasing the moon, in doing so I ran thoughtlessly, focused on the moon, I didn't hear the music blaring through my ear buds, but I did hear that I had run a mile and a half and decided to turn around in the shadow of the moon and watch the sky change as the sun set on my way back to the car. Catching my breathe I walked back towards the water for one last glimpse of the moon and how it reflected in the ripples of the river. I got to thinking how moonrises are different, we don't see new moons rise, some moonrises are golden, like the sun and others are white, like a big round star, these thoughts inspired the necklace. About 15 minutes later I realized I set a new personal best for myself, running the fastest three miles I have ever run. I set this record effortlessly, with a smile, feeling renewed and ready for a new day at the jeweler's bench. Like I told my pup, I'll come back a better person. 

Click on the images above to see these necklaces in my shop. My hope is you can relate them to an adventure that changed your day, week, or forever impacted your life. 

xo, kim

p.s. I read this article and it has helped me realize that adventures can be had right outside your door. I've been making my runs an adventure and using them as a way to explore my surroundings. I have a new appreciation for the neiborhoods I consider home.