The inspiration for April’s We’re All Ears earring design challenge was images of fiddlehead ferns. There are many design elements to choose from in the images, from the spiral shapes of the coiled fiddleheads to the feathery unfurled green leaves.
I’ve had fiddlehead ferns in salads and stir fry when I lived in Alaska. They’re quite tasty. I’ve looked for them in the produce section of my local Whole Foods here in the Mid Atlantic and have not seen them. Maybe I need to visit an actual farmer’s market for something so exotic?
For my earrings, I made components in polymer clay. The spiral shapes were made by pressing a piece of coiled wire into the raw clay. I used a rubber stamp to impress a fern leaf patterned background on one pair. I wasn’t initially sure how I was going to color or finish them, so they started out off-white. I gave one pair a faux ceramic finish as a test, and liked it so much I did all three sets in the same finish.
Although I typically struggle to make “simple” earrings that are nothing more than a drop on a wire, I felt okay doing that with these. The simple design seems to work with the nature theme.
I baked copper jump rings into two pair of components. I wanted to hang them directly from the ear wires and this allowed me to get the right orientation of the jump ring.
For the disc-shaped components, I drilled a hole top center because I thought I might want to add a beaded link to the ear wire. In the end, I kept the design simple and only used jump rings.
In addition to always taking design challenges very literally, I like trying to imitate shapes from nature in my jewelry. I’m still teaching myself to sculpt, and gaining confidence to experiment more. For this challenge. I tried to make some drops that looked like actual fern fiddleheads. I didn’t quite succeed, but I have some ideas for what I might do differently. I used chalk pastels to color these components and they ended up too dark. Or maybe these are stir fried fiddleheads?
I’d like to revisit this theme, and give the sculpting part another go. I have an idea for a different tool to use to get the impression of leafy bits, and I think I’ll try making them with a tinted translucent clay next time. As always, I had fun thanks to wonderful inspiration from our hostess, Erin Prais-Hintz. Be sure to visit the Earrings Every Day blog to see how Erin interpreted this theme. And then follow the links at the bottom of her post to see inspired earring designs by other artists.
My fern earrings will be making their way into my shop on Etsy. Except the stir-fried experiment. Those I may try to salvage with a Swellegant metal coating, probably in copper.