Magpies are in the family of birds corvidae and commonly referred to as corvids. These include crows, ravens, jays, and few others that we do not see locally. The birds in this family are highly intelligent and they are thought to have an odd behavior. They collect shiny objects for their nests. While that statement has been lore for many years, the BBC recently suggests that this is not the case at all. The magpie collection here at the Abalone Nomad comes from the mystical lore that surrounds corvids such as the Magpie.
The Magpie collection is heavily doused in artistry and the simple rule that I follow is that I must use things that are outside of my traditional style to create something I love. It is a highly eclectic experience and I start each piece with a theme. The photograph above is from a piece I call Butterfly Dreams. There is a lot of story in that piece and it is truly a piece that I love. Each of these dream catchers are constructed using bits and pieces of little treasures that were given to me or that were left over from another project.
What we see in this picture is the essence of this project. The brightly colored sari silk is recycled. There are strands of leather that were left over from making necklace thongs and were too short to use for anything else. There are beads of stone and glass here that were given to me. The focal abalone is a unique piece that I struggled to figure out how to use, but it fits perfectly into this concept.
The story here is that butterflies love color and thus the colors represent flower of various sizes. Each bead a flower. Each strand of sari silk a flower. The shell, a flower. When I step back from this and I look, what I see is a bouquet of wild flowers. There are totem piece here that mean things to me, but should mean different things for others. I find beauty, freedom, and a wild sense of living in this piece and I love that.
The Magpie collection is not just about using the random stray bits of treasures that I have left. It is about applying all that I have learned as I make jewelry. There are many different skills that go into these dream catchers. It is the culmination of these skills that truly make these projects possible. For example, being able to make wire-wrapped loops, or to wrap leather cord to make is secure not only helps the pieces become stable, but also adds beauty.
This is the original Magpie Totem Dream Catcher. It is very much an expression of strength and also inner peace. There is obsidian, a fluorite bear, antler tip, abalone, silk, and stone, glass, and bone beads. It could be worn by a man, but I feel it is made for a women. A blessing of sorts that offers protection to her man as he hunts. How that translates into the modern world is a journey of its own. At the core of this piece is the idea of a relationship... a commitment. The extension of self past where you end and where "you" as a couple begin. It is that mix of masculine and feminine in this piece that I find so attractive. The interpretation of each of these pieces is unique to whomever wears it. This could also be a badge of courage that a young person wears to remind them of the commitment that they have to family and self. That is another thing that is so beautiful about these piece — that they take on a meaning for each of us.
Themed chaos such as this the Love Potion #9 totem is a cage that holds a bigger concept. How many different kinds of love are there? There are way more than just nine, though this piece contains nine hearts. Each heart a story or a chapter. Themed chaos is a concept in and of itself. I use it to take big topics, such as love, masculinity, or feminism and try to define each bit or faucet about the subject. For example, The black bead with the white upside down heart may represent unconventional love — a definition that is not the norm. These can be literal or abstract but that is dependent upon the viewer or wearer of the object. What do these bits mean to you?