This past weekend, the fella and I met two of our very best friends in the Adirondacks in order to breathe deeply. We had planned this trip for a few months, and when it was upon us, I panicked a little about losing time to finish everything for the Honeybee Collection shop update. “What if I have to postpone the update, like with the Mossflower Collection!? How can I finish it all??”
The week leading up to the trip, I pulled a few very late nights and moved through my day jobs with a head pickled in coffee. And then the evening we left, I tossed some clothes into a pack and poured myself into the car. I was beyond tired when we headed out of town, but the mountains have a way of propping up even the tiredest of bones!
Autumn is one of the facets of our world that dazzles every onlooker when it catches the light. That brief raiment and the adoration it receives has become cliche for how universal an experience it is. It is like saying you like the sunset on the ocean, of course you do! It is encoded in our very souls to revel in those colors and textures. And revel in autumn I did.
Right now, upstate New York is positively aflame. It is as though the contrast and saturation of the countryside has been cranked up beyond reason.
We hiked three of the Adirondack high peaks while there, and with sore shoulders and tired legs, every glimpse of the mountain range dripping with reds and yellows was a well-earned gift, savored with our water. I wish I could have photographed every fallen leaf and dark place in the mountains, but the light was not with me and I had to speedily snap photos and run to catch up with everyone as we descended. It was a much needed reprieve from the pace I had kept during the weeks prior, buried in honeybees and golden gemstones.
But now I am back in the studio in this final week before the shop update, and goodness, the noise of these bees!
As this collection builds to its crescendo, the sound spills out of the studio to fill every corner of the house. The thrum is becoming so great it is beginning to rattle my tea cups right off the shelves. While metalsmithing, about mid-afternoon I start to feel a bit sluggish and dull, so I walk to the market to get a vegan peanut butter brownie and a peach tea. And on the way back, I can feel the hum of the bees through the sidewalk before I am even in sight of the house. My home has become a hive, the studio at the heart of it, warm with activity and honey-colored citrine and yellow amethyst.
And so, I have new things to show you! Some of these designs I have already shared elsewhere, but I would like to keep everything here as well, for posterity.
“There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance.” – H.D. Thoreau
There will be five adjustable cuffs featuring rough citrine focals, two little brass pollen granules, and a honeycomb pattern across the top of the band. The band measures 6″ and is adjustable with a 1″ gap.
Rough and warm. These are cuffs to be worn while bee lining through the forest in search of wild hives, or spinning honeycomb on summer afternoons. A beekeepers cuff.
There will be four pairs of honeybee silhouette earrings with citrine briolette drops, and two necklaces. Little shadows of bumblebees, like the hidden workers inside the hive, and citrine honey dripping below.
(US Sizes 6.25, 7.25, 8, 9)
In addition to detailed pieces, there will also be a handful of simple rings and earrings. And here are my Nectar Rings. There will be four cushion cut faceted citrines set between two brass pollen granules.
Like the sweet nectar at the bottoms of flowers, yielded with the exchange of pollen.
Summertime Waltz Earrings
And here is my simple earring design for the collection: honey-colored citrine rondelles with micro-faceting to catch the light set above a little swatch of beaded chain to sway in the breeze. The most simple summertime earrings. They remind me of the alternately sun-drenched and shaded waltzes honeybees must participate in with flowers, vines, branches, and leaves. Constant movement to keep time with a flower in the breeze, swaying and circling to alight on a flower for pollen and nectar. There will be 10 or so pairs available in the shop update.
(on chains adjustable from 17-20″)
And here are the rest of the Gatherer Necklaces. Warm, honey colored citrines of various shapes set above three brass pollen granules and two leaves imprinted with real leaf print, and below the silhouette of a solitary bees, hard at work.
On the backs of the necklaces, you can see the path of the honeybee before it alighted on the front. Zipping around in search of pollen-rich flowers.
Naturalist Necklaces and Cuffs
Since our time here in Ithaca, I have watched my fella develop an even more deep, giddy love for nature, especially that which exists in the tiny spaces: signal evolution in flowers, the blink patterns of fireflies, the mosses found in boreal forests, the lifespan of a worker bee. He has very slowly and all at once become a proper naturalist: carefully preserving the insects he finds in glass cases, carrying eastern plant identification books, commenting on his need for butterfly nets, lamenting every moment indoors.
In their own way, honeybees are like little naturalists to me. Collecting all summer long, sun-warmed and rain tousled. Returning home to organize their harvests into neat little compartments, preserving sunshine in the from of honey. And so this design is an ode to naturalism in silver and stone.
A single honeybee is set within a branch frame on a solid black background, resembling insects mounted and preserved upon black velvet. Surrounding the the bees are little drops of honey colored citrine, representing that good work of preservation done by the bees themselves.
And on the back of the pendants and cuffs are single hexagons with the inscription “AESTAS SINE FINE”, which is Latin for “summer without end.” Because here in this piece is an enduring embodiment of summer.
When I see this piece, I remember summer: the smell of bee balm and phlox swirling through trees, the hum of worker bees ever-moving, sun-warmed honey thick on the tongue. A summers day you can hold in your hand.
There will be four necklaces and two cuffs in this design.
Bee Charmer Rings
(US Ring Sizes 6.25, 6.5, 6.75, 7, 8, 8.25, 9, 9.25, 10, 10.75, 11)
The sizes are listed as they measure on the mandrel, but fit around a half size small. So purchase a ring about half a size larger than your normal size.
I also was able to make eleven more of these rings! They feature smooth oval citrines, like cups of honey balanced upon the hand. There are brass pollen granules above and below the stones.
And I was even able to charm a few little honeybees into settling in your open hands. On the underneaths of the rings are tiny bee silhouettes. Hidden honeybees to hold through the day.
Bee Garden Rings and Necklace
(US Ring Sizes 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 10)
And finally, my Bee Garden pieces. This design manifested as a promise to myself, that one day when we finally have space to have a proper garden, we will plant swaths of apple trees, hyssop, echinacea, cone flowers, asters, mint, and anything else that will bring the bees. Our home will feel like a giant wooden hive with the amount of buzzing and movement surrounding it all summer. Warm days with the competing scents of flowers wafting through our land. We will lay on our backs and track the paths of the bees endlessly collecting pollen.
For these pieces I chose a range of natural points to have custom cut for this design. Some of the darker points are actually heated amethyst! Amethyst and citrine are very similar types of quartzes, depending on the temperatures the quartz is exposed to while in the ground. When heated, there is a reaction within the stone to produce shades varying from purple to yellow to orange. There are even stones called “ametrine” where this color change happens naturally in one specimen!
I knew that for this design I wanted a very deep amber color, like a rich buckwheat honey. I wanted these pieces to stand apart from my citrine designs, with their lighter yellow hues. And so I carefully chose a handful of heated amethyst and citrine points, rough and natural.
Each piece in this design is comprised of a fluffy hand forged flower, resembling a poppy. In the center and to either side of the flower are red brass pollen granules, the promise of fruit waiting quietly. And above the flower is a single yellow amethyst/citrine point, cut to perfection by Dailey Cut Gems and set in royal-style gallery wire. Rings and a pendant fit for queen bees.
And so there you have it! Weeks of tireless work, like a honeybee myself, collecting little piles of citrine and yellow amethyst, preserving summer in metal.
Everything will land in my Etsy shop all at once, and will be first come first served.
See you at the shop update on Sunday, October 14th at 7pm EST!