I realise that using the internet as a Magic 8 Ball might not be the best idea. But when a girl is drunk on stolen gin and alone in a Berlin hotel room, who else is she to turn to? Three months ago I asked Twitter if I should take a risk or not, without giving any context whatsoever, 54 of you answered and the clear majority said yes take the risk. Based on the hive mind of the internet the next day I spent all of my savings ordering an engraving machine from Korea. Thanks to that 93% today I get the excited privilege to introduce you to Zeal & Heart, my new jewellery line.
For those who have been reading since the start of Runawaykiwi (man, 2012 feels like 9 lifetimes ago) you will remember I used to sell jewellery on Etsy. Back in those days I had three designs that I got a manufacturer in Birmingham to make and to be very honest the sales meant I could eat that year (skint in London is no fun at all). Getting someone else to manufacturer was never exactly what I wanted to do, but in the dark ages of 2012 (pre-Brexit, pre-Trump, pre-gin based alcoholism) the technology didn’t exist to produce what I wanted.
My dream was to be able to engrave all of those Pinterest worthy quotes on tiny pendants, tiny so that they are a talisman for you and only you, not something shouted at the world. Over the years I have wanted to tattoo myself with these sayings changing my mind every other week over which it should be, but I think sterling silver is the less permanent option. Anyway, I digress. Thanks to five years of waiting the technology now exists and is sitting in my living room.
Zeal & Heart is going to be all limited edition designs (thanks to my low boredom threshold…yeah I really shouldn’t get a tattoo) and I am making only 100 of each. The sterling silver pendants can be purchased on a chain or just as the pendant and are all engraved with the edition number on the back, so you know which of the 100 you have. Once a design is sold out that’s it, on to the next Zeal & Heart message in silver.
My big hope (apart from you know, people buying them!) is that Zeal & Heart pendants bring a little bit of hope, courage or solace to you when you wear them. I know what it feels like to be a little lost in the world and sometimes all you need is that simple message to remind yourself and bring you back to center.
Seven designs are currently up on my Etsy store, keep your eye out for new designs being added to the range soon.
This months travel link-up was all abut places that you can’t get out of your head. I tried to write a post for the last couple of weeks, but I just could not make any sort of coherent argument – not when there are bigger things happening in the world that I just can’t get out of my head.
I have written time and time again about how homesickness makes you feel as an expat. We are living on the other side of the world and sometimes the thought of being so far away feels like a heart wound that won’t heal. But we have chosen to live in another country. We may have limited visas but we have the right to live here, and can travel as we please. We may be permanently skint but we are secure. No so for the thousands of refugees currently walking across Europe.
They have the same heart wounds except the home they are thinking of no longer exists. The food, the neighborhoods and the history that we miss, well we will experience it again someday – for the refugees it no longer exists. Imagine how you would feel if it were all gone.
That feeling is enough to make me want to help. But they also currently have no security, no water, no country, no idea what is around the corner and memories of a civil war haunting them.
So what can you do? I am selling the sterling silver cloud pendant to raise money for the Save the Children Child Refugee Crisis Appeal. Literally all the money you pay is going to be donated, I’m even paying the Etsy fees to make this happen. And if all 30 are sold? Together we can donate £1,000 to the refugee appeal.
Living in a London flat does not lend itself to creativity. You can’t normally hang things on the walls, there isn’t the space for big canvases and the close neighbours mean the jewellery hammers have to stay silent. But having reached the edge of the creativity cliff, I needed an outlet. London Jewellery School; enter stage left.
Deep in the heart of Hatton Gardens (London’s jewellery quarter) the London Jewellery School runs short courses & diploma courses in everything jewellery related; from silver to beads. I highly recommend their classes – the Soldering Masterclass did wonders for my technique, but since all I needed was the space and the tools I decided to rent one of their benches for the day.
So I had eight hours stretching ahead of me, and nothing but silver and solder to fill it. I knew that I wanted to make stacker rings but that was about as far as I got. So I made a cup of tea and just started sawing.
For the entire day I didn’t stop. There was no plan or any sort of method, if something didn’t work I either turned it into something else or just scrapped it and moved on. While I waited for one thing in the pickle (don’t ask, its a jewellery thing), I started on another. There was not a single other thought in my head, I was just wrapped up in the joy of creating.
It was the most pure form of mindfulness that I have experienced since coming to London. Every sort of thought or worry was blocked out as I tried to avoid burning my eyebrows off. And the nice thing is that as well as mental peace and equilibrium, I also got the pretty rings in the picture above to wear everyday as a reminder.
It costs £30 to rent a bench from 10am to 5pm (they let me stay a little later!) and the price includes tea and biscuits & my materials were around £30.
One of my favourite New York museums is the Museum of Art and Design (or MAD for those in the know). When I was here a few years ago they has a phenomenal exhibition called Radical Knitting and Subversive Lace – a kooky enough memory to search out this museum again. Turns out in the intervening years MAD has moved into the fancy new building above.
I was lucky enough to be there while a jewellery exhibition was on. Now, bear in mind that not many of these were meant to be warn; I guess they are more a convenient format for some art. So, here are three of my favourites:
This is Golden Wings (part of the Clockwork Love series) by Frank Tjepkema. I think I like it because of the link to clockwork; it turns a frivolous but pretty piece of jewellery (after all, jewellery is nothing if not frivolous and pretty*) into something with a hidden functional meaning.
This is a series of broaches called String of Pearls with a Gold Clasp by Kim Buck. Its a clever use of negative space, telling you all that you need to know by taking the object away. I also find it entertaining that no one could ever wear this and get the full story, it would just be an abstract square with some indentations.
Necklace for National Mourning II by Edward Lane McCartney below I found surprising. I instantly dismissed it as I walked past as a silly thing, just an oversized and not even that pretty necklace (the diameter was about the size of me). But since my whanau were taking their sweet time looking around, I had cause to take a second look. Turns out it was entirely made up of small army men, tanks and planes painted gun metal grey. Actually quite cool.
* To buy some frivolous but pretty of your own just click here!