Series Inspiration: Birch Bark

June 20, 2018

Series Inspiration: Birch Bark

This post was originally published on April 22, 2016.

Alternate Post Title: 
It's Earth Day, Yo - Wear Nature

The day of April 22 - Earth Day - was a date set in the 1970s to remind the American people that it was time to start caring about the world we live in again. (source) The 70s were a time of war, major air pollution, and a laissez faire attitude towards the environment. All that was until a guy, well, a politician actually, named Gaylord Nelson, had the idea to set aside a specific day each year to remind people that our environment needing tending to. There was all this anti-war energy swirling about, and he had the brilliant idea to do something constructive with it - get people to use that energy to be more conscious of our air and water pollution. And it worked! People took to the streets to host rallies fighting against oil spills, air pollution caused by large factories, massive sewage, and the loss of wilderness. That's right - people took notice that their trees and certain animal species were being cut down and cut out, and they said no. How cool is that? Republicans, Democrats, everyone joined together to fight for our planet. Well, this isn't a political post, so back to my point - Earth Day (our environment) matters and is worth preserving. And there was one big day in history not too long ago that proves this is something we all care about. And what's the best way to celebrate? WEAR NATURE!

About a year or so ago, I found these super cool birch "logs" (I guess that's what you'd call them?) for jewelry display. As they were perfectly on brand with my natural jewelry pieces, I picked a few up to use at trunk shows. At that time, I only had the Oyster Necklace (cast from a real oyster shell!) and nature-inspired pieces (no others actually cast from organic matter). So I started thinking - what if I cast the birch bark? Would the texture still show up? Would it burn cleanly in the casting process? Well, as you now know, it certainly did. I had a friend in jewelry school who had tried this idea with a different kind of natural bark, and I remember it coming out alright so I definitely had my hopes up.

Fast forward and I fell so in love with the way the birch came out in the castings that I just had to have it in every way imaginable! Necklaces, earrings, cuffs, bangles, rings - you name it, I "birched" it. 

(If you're interested in seeing how the lost wax casting process works from start to finish, I highly recommend checking out the video below - it's worth the 9 minutes. (Here is the original link) With much of my jewelry, I make the wax models they reference at the beginning of the video here in my studio by hand - either carving from a block of wax or building up heated wax onto various surfaces. For the birch pieces, replace the wax model in he video with an actual piece of birch bark. Because the bark is a natural element, it will cleanly burn out during the "burn out" process just as the wax does. Pretty cool!)

Now, for those of you who typically wear the same pieces of jewelry everyday or are very into the simple "less is more" look - I recommend the Birch BangleSkinny Cuff (layer those two together in different metals for a modern look), Birch Studs, and the Birch Pendant Necklace. It's easy to always feel connected to nature with these small, subtle pieces.

For those of you who need a chunky, statement piece to remind you of those wood calling your name, might I suggest the Birch Cuff (I mean, all the heart eye emojis), the Birch Skinny Necklace (talk about chunk), and the Birch Cigar Band Ring.

BONUS: Did you know that the birch tree is nicknamed the "tree of life"? Its leaves and bark have been known to improve skin, help with hair loss, and even reduce fever. (source)

So how will you wear nature this Earth Day?

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