Monday, May 19, 2014

From the Vault: A Shaman's Necklace...

One of the first trips I made out to Tucson, I met Heather Wynn (now Heather Wynn-Millican).  We were set up across from each other in a sunny atrium.  We became fast friends and would make funny faces at each other throughout the week.  At the end of the day, we'd show each other the spoils we acquired on shopping trips before the show started or on our breaks.  On the last day, she showed me a fabulous selection of fossilized walrus ivory.  I wanted some for myself!  She told me where to find them and luckily I caught them in a mad dash before the tent closed up.  I got two bags and filed them away with the rest of my treasures.

I was told that harvesting walrus ivory was illegal now, but that these pieces were dug up from old hunting sites.  These pieces had been grandfathered in.  They could only be procured by the native tribes and had to be traded for.

I put them in my plastic organizer and there they sat for almost ten years.  They traveled with me up and down the eastern seaboard and through the wilds of Brooklyn.  I would take them out on occasion and would think of the things I would make with them, but then would scoop them up in the baggies and put them away again.

And then a friend named Kathy Van Kleeck mentioned a site where she got her diamond-head drill bits.  I ordered some and put them away with the shards of fossilized walrus ivory.  And there they sat a little longer.

Finally the day came where I drilled the pieces.  Some turned out better than others.  The ivory has a natural grain to it and the rough pieces would sometimes crack.  I did manage to get a handful of nice specimens.  I put them back in the bag and there they sat a little while longer.

Recently I was cleaning out my toolbox, when I came across the drilled shards.  I poured them out and started to arrange the irregular daggers... and then I made this piece.  I paired the fossilized walrus ivory with faceted fuchsia labradorite, aluminum-banded ebony, sterling silver and garnet rondelles.  The clasp is an old sterling silver one from my family at Green Girl Studios that I harvested off of an old design that was in a magazine.

I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.  It took awhile... much longer than I thought it would, but it finally came together many years later.


Ann Schroeder said...

This is very beautiful. Sometimes I think special items need to wait until we have just the right other elements and idea for them.

Shai Williams said...

Wow! This is gorgeous. I am so glad that you waiting until the beads spoke to you because they are so precious.