Jewelry designer Mary Hicklin combines natural objects with traditional silversmithing to make one-of-a-kind wearable art. Check out her website to see more of her work.
From time out of mind, we humans have adorned our bodies with some form of jewelry. Whereas other creatures sport magnificent plumage, fur, scales or iridescence as a birthright, we have the option of adorning ourselves in unique ways to express our individual natures. I share the ancients’ fascination with natural objects and make one-of-a-kind work from things that call out to me. I strive to honor the materials using traditional silversmithing methods, pearl knotting and beadwork.
I started my company, Virgo Moon, as a part-time venture in 1990, making it a full-time business in 2001. My academic background in biology and systems ecology informs my concern about the plight of our fellow creatures, e.g. the Burmese python, endangered in its own habitat but wreaking havoc in the Everglades.
Zuni carvings call out for discussions of the delicate interconnectedness of the web of life.
A glass bead may start a whole conversation with some green Kyanite.
And stones themselves speak at an energetic level and sometimes with dramatic images. One might find a virtual photograph of a masked man holding a rose in his gauntlet:
… or a wood fairy sitting in a tree, laughing at us when we fail to notice her.
My work mimics the profusion of nature. Faceted stones don’t interest me as much as cabochons with their intricate patterns and limitless, often surprising color palettes. I nestle each stone in an entire environment, making a composition of complementary materials including stone and glass beads and freshwater pearls. Seed beads, now available in a vast array of colors and finishes, can unify a composition and can also soften geometric shapes into more organic forms. Some stones demand over-the-top embellishment.
And some want to be worn on the wrist as viewing stones, enticing the wearer to plumb the depths of their exquisite fortifications. While cabochons like to show off their internal patterns, raw rocks can fizz with excitement.
Each of my pieces has its own web page. My 30-year career in systems engineering has been helpful in constructing what is now a rather extensive website. In addition to listing the components and the names of the artists whose work I’ve used, there is usually an essay. It is important to me to write about the work, and I draw on my long experience as a back-country hiker and sea kayaker for stories. Sometimes I bring up spiritual traditions; I was blessed to have a teacher who invited us to seek the Truth underlying all great traditions.
A recurring theme is the sense of wonder about the beings who share our planet and the criticality of environmental protection. The living stones lead me on diverse adventures and misadventures which I hope some will find intriguing and amusing. Amazon links suggest further reading, though I always try to recall my readers to the piece of jewelry which inspired the article!