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  • Writer's picturecatherine stemper


Inspiration is a tricky thing. Deadlines can effect how inspiration happens. Desperation to meet a deadline may erase self imposed boundaries and limits, or stifle one into a blank mind. I have very few deadlines these days, a one time dream of mine. I used to wish for all the time in the world to create and be a designer of whatever I wanted. I have tons of time now. I've looked through my sketch books, revisiting some old ideas that were in need of time to study, tinkering, elaboration. I must admit, I am not impressed with my results.

I have been inspired again. I love autumn, the waning of summer mania, settling into cozy comforts, letting go of things no longer useful. Leaves were my first inspirations in jewelry making. They easily translate into sheet metal. In fact, I have now limited my leaf ideas. I do not allow myself new leaf jewelry ideas unless they are truly spectacular. I have been focusing on flowers, with modest success. Seeds, twigs, bark, all flora has been part of my inspiration. There is one autumnal bit that I have yet to create, the mushroom. Part of the problem is there are so many kinds of mushroom. The first rule of design is keep it simple. Simplicity aids recognition, or can hinder it, if taken too far. If I create a "general" kind of mushroom, that seems to fall short of my abilities and aesthetic. There is plenty of mushroom jewelry, mine needs to be unique, all mine. The mushroom ideas have been rolling around in my head for years. Once, I did a prototype of tiny mushrooms, that I think I am going to revisit. But I finally came across my solution to the shelf mushroom jewelry idea.

How this idea came together is not the first time for me. Other people's jewelry is something I always look at. I love jewelry, it is why I make jewelry. I was looking at a friend's earring the other day. It was a style I had seen before, but something about it made me look at it again and again. Then, yesterday, I was scrolling through my Pinterest feed, looking at the healthful properties of mushrooms. Turkey Tail shelf fungus was on the guide list, it is so beautiful. The illustration was well done. I have always wanted to do Turkey Tail shelf fungus jewelry. The way to hang the earring was always the sticking point. Earrings are a must for every design I create. I sell more earrings than anything else. I could see the Turkey Tail necklace, even a bracelet and pin, but the earrings eluded me. The style of earrings my friend was wearing are the solution! I do not know why the two ideas had not come together before. This style of earring is not new, just new to my collection. I am very excited about it, so keep an eye on my website, and I will post it soon!

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