Last Monday we took our team photo, which we do now and again. We all agreed to wear stylish accessories for it. For my teammates on Lark Jewelry & Beading that meant wearing mostly metal or beaded jewelry, naturally. For me, that meant wearing a favorite tie and my wedding ring.
Which brings up some issues for me. (Blog posts can be therapeutic, after all.)
Lark Jewelry & Beading team members have a remarkable collection of jewelry from author-designers. Nathalie Mornu wears stunning earrings gifted from Maggie Meister and Laura McCabe, for example, and Marthe Le Van just received a breathtaking necklace from Talya Baharal, juror for 500 Silver Jewelry Designs, a book almost as exquisite as the piece.
But somehow our authors never quite picture me in jeweled accessories. I voice my jealousy to my teammates more often than you’d likely guess, if for some reason you regard me as the least bit courteous and measured. “Time for a book about tie pins and cufflinks!” I grumble.
Still, my core jewelry fashion statement every day, like many men, is my wedding ring. On my right hand I also sometimes wear the spinner rings my wife, Loree, and I exchanged during a challenging period three years ago and a beautiful (oops, I mean manly) ring made by Terry Taylor, a former Lark artist and editor.
I married Loree in winter 1998. We went to a downtown Bellingham, Washington, jewelry store — GB Heron Fine Jewelry — to pick out Loree’s gorgeous ring of gold, platinum, and diamonds.
For my wedding band, we commissioned Lloyd Wadhams Jr., a British Columbia First Peoples artist of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwagiulth) Nation. I’d seen his work at Hill’s Native Art, a shop right near the steam clock in Vancouver’s Gastown in British Columbia. Wadhams comes from a family of master carvers, and he carves contemporary interpretations of traditional native designs into his gold and silver jewelry.
We commissioned a piece featuring a raven, moon, and eagle. Loree is native (Cree-Blackfoot) and raven clan. Hemachandra means golden moon. And the eagle is deeply spiritual to most Pacific Northwest natives and to Loree’s family. The ring, a gold band with the carvings resting atop a sterling-silver band, looks much like the one by Wadhams pictured to the right, which is among his jewelry available at the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery in Vancouver.
I adore this ring, which over the years has endured my 40-pound weight gain and 60-pound weight loss. First it had to be stretched — hard to do with a ring of carved images — and then it started flying off my hand (and was even missing for a period of a few months). I’ve put 8 or so pounds back on now, and it nestles snugly on my ring finger once more.
One more thing, to loop back to the start of this post: I worked on many books outside of jewelry and beading before becoming team lead for this wonderful group of people, and I do have one piece of artwork gifted by an author in a different category.
I cherish it, and to be fair, others here frequently voice jealousy about it: a bird made by the magnificent Shane Fero for his magnificent chapter in the magnificent The Penland Book of Glass. (You might guess that I like the book.) I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Shane’s studio in Penland, North Carolina, a couple of times now; see Beth Sweet’s video of Shane at work here.
The bird perches near my desk, visible to me always.