This week I am excited to feature a beautiful necklace made from a whole seed of the Nutmeg by Dara of Hieropice. The Nutmeg was brought back to the United States from the island of Zanzibar. To make the pendant, Dara hand-lacquered them, drilled and set them in a lovely brass bail, and hung them from a delicate brass chain. It is stunning and a great reminder of Nutmeg’s healing powers. Who could be sad while wearing this beautiful art from nature?
Dara is a very inspiring artist. From her etsy shop, here’s a bit about her and her work:
“In the Fall of 2010, I moved to Tanzania, Africa, for a month, to volunteer. It was quite a change from the icy tundra of New England in late Fall, and I was glad to go! As an artist, I was particularly interested in the town of Bagamoyo (literally, “lay down your heart”, due to its role in the slave-trade) on the Eastern coast, which has been an artists’ community for generations. I hoped to absorb as much of the unique design, technique, and craft inherent to the local artists as I could, and possibly acquire some new, locally-made materials.
Some time later, I found beautiful pairs of traditional Maasai beaded earrings, at a stall in the Mwenge Craft Market, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s capitol. They were intricate, and beautiful, and very, very large. The style was unlike anything I owned, and I knew it’d be a bit of a challenge to find opportunities to wear them back home in Boston, but I purchased them anyway, from a Maasai vendor at the Market
But I was hooked. The design was so beautiful and unusual, I imagined other women might want to wear it too. And I wanted to perfect my technique, to get the wirework as neat and even as the Maasai artist had done. I modified the technique a bit, and kept creating new pieces until I thought I’d really gotten the hang of it.
After I lost yet another earring from a second original Maasai-made pair, I realized it was the flimsy earwires that were the culprits, and knew modifications were needed for sale to a Western audience. While the traditional earrings were beautiful, they were created in an environment with limited resources and a different esthetic, and I wanted to utilize better quality materials like semi-precious stones, sterling silver, and rocaille glass beads. I wanted to add a bit sparkle, for the more glamorously-inclined woman. I began offering my pieces on Etsy, at my shop, Hieropice, and the rest was history! I’ve been creating new and interesting versions ever since, blending different colors and altering the shape.
The major hurtle the artisans in Bagamoyo faced was relying upon tourism to sell their work, as the locals, who have an average yearly salary of $357, cannot afford to buy it. The minimal tourist traffic there barely supports them, and they desperately need an outlet. They deserve it, the artists are incredibly talented, dedicated, and practiced. I hope to, one day, return to collaborate with Maasai bead artists back in Tanzania, presenting them the new beading technique I’ve developed and new materials, and relying on their existing beading skills to create the pieces Hieropice will sell. In this way, the artists can access a new, solid market for their work, and infuse some much-needed income into their community. With your support, we’ll make that happen! Thank you for it.”
In addition to the Nutmeg pendant and the Maasai beadwork, she also makes adorable miniature terrarium pendants! From winter scenes featuring tiny pieces of lichen and white sand to hand crafted mushrooms and other whimsical plants, there’s a tiny terrarium for every plant lover!
For a chance to win this gorgeous pendant necklace of Nutmeg, leave a comment. For additional chances to win, leave a separate comment for each of the following:
-Kids, you get 1 extra point for being a kid! Leave a comment telling me how old you are and what you like best about Herbal Roots zine.
-blogging about it
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-tell us what your favorite item is in Hieropice’s Etsy shop
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Sign up by Sunday, December 16, 2012 and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, December 17, 2012.
Congratulations to the Hedge Wife! The random generator selected her comment to be the winner of the Plant Healer Annual!