A Wearable Garden

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with non-metal materials to create rings. Through a spark of inspiration, I decided to make a necklace from fabric flowers. Eventually this idea evolved into a simpler design, four fake flowers sprouting from four ring shanks. Since I thought of this creation, I’ve become obsessed with bringing the outdoors inside. The cold air makes it difficult to enjoy nature, especially when many plants are killed by snow. As a solution, my rings have taken on the daunting task of creating spring in the winter.

As part of my first project of the semester, a hollow-form ring, I decided to move on to a more complicated subject: a real plant. A hollow-form ring is created by essentially making a ring shaped box. The inside is hollow, hence the name, and the top of the ring is usually utilized for design purposes.

While I was searching for a plant to insert onto my ring, a friend recommended Tillandsia. Tillandsias only need to be watered once a week and they don’t require soil because they gather nutrients from the air. In short, it was the perfect plant for my purposes.

Including non-precious material in a metal ring requires extra care. Once the plant is situated, heat can no longer be used. This is an issue in the world of metals and jewelry because heat is necessary to bond two metals together. To avoid any problems, I added the plant at the last possible moment. The problem? Within five minutes my plant fell off of the ring. Three times. While some websites claim that hot-glue is perfect for adhering Tillandsia to any surface, this is not always the case. A disaster was avoided moments before I had to present my piece for critique when I found a tube of superglue, which I used to attach the plant.

I reached another problem during my most recent project when utilizing wood. It turns out, believe it or not, that a small piece of wood will break if hammered. After spending hours carving, sanding, and polishing, I was left with two broken pieces. I’ve recreated it, but learned a valuable lesson. Not all matter is created equal.

I’ve really enjoyed the process of creating unique rings, and I look forward to trying a variety of designs. The more I work, the more I learn. Maybe someday I’ll find the perfect formula necessary to keep a ring intact from start to finish, but for now I’m getting by with superglue.

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