Monthly Archives: October 2012

Art and the Gifts of Ancient Wisdom

“The boundless profusion of animal symbolism in the religion and art of all times does not merely emphasize the importance of the symbol; it shows how vital it is for men to integrate into their lives the symbol’s psychic content— instinct.”   -Jung, Carl Gustav, Man and His Symbols. Random House, Inc.

Weaving together her love of natural materials, and a fascination with spiritual and mythological art, Zealandia Design’s artisan, Jenny Byrne, has created a unique line of silver, gold fill, and fossilized ivory jewelry rich in archetypal symbolism.

Even the materials Jenny chooses seem infused with the gifts of ancient wisdom to be carried forward to our modern psyches. Jenny combines the natural elements of silver, gold fill, fossilized walrus tusk, ancient mammoth ivory, semi-precious stones, ammonites, mother of pearl, and paua, into jewelry as unique as a fingerprint. Incorporating ancient fossilized ivories with colors ranging from creamy white to a rich black, depending on the minerals it was in contact with and the length of time it was in the ground. Fossilized walrus tusk, which has lain beneath the soil for 500 to 3,000 years, is obtained legally from Eskimo families who excavate it from village sites on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. With intention, Jenny selects the fossilized ivory, vibrant shells, and semi-precious stones, appropriate for each piece of her handcrafted jewelry.

“The richness of hues developed by the fossilization of ancient ivory makes each piece of our ivory jewelry unique. The idea of using ivory as old as the petroglyphs, and cultures that inspire me, is very exciting as I like my designs to tell stories that honor the wisdom ancient people developed to explain and understand the forces surrounding them. I see early expressions of writing, art and ritual as having an innate power, and incorporate this into my designs as silent incantations or mantra.”   -Jenny Byrne, Zealandia Designs

Beyond the materials is the design. A design informed by Jenny Byrne’s love and respect for the stories and mythology of our ancestors and a deep understanding of the enduring power of archetypal symbolism. Images familiar to all of us, via our dreams and stories and our time in the natural world.

Wearing Zealandia Designs, you can know that you have brought more than a beautiful and timeless piece of jewelry into your life; you have brought the gifts of ancient wisdom.

Zealandia's Dragonfly Rising Pin/Pendant

Please feel free to leave a comment by hitting “leave a reply” at the top of the page. Let us know which symbols, from the natural world, you find personally significant and would like to welcome into your life; or any other thoughts you’d like to share.

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Bead For Life

One of my favorite parts of working with Artisan jewelry is getting to know the artists. It seems to be human nature to grow more fully human through the act of creation.

The ability to express oneself in a tangible way is a gift not only to those that experience the finished product, but also to the artist who experiences the process. That give and take inherent to the creative act is especially evident in the important work happening through an organization called BeadforLife. If you haven’t heard of them, you might want to check out their inspiring blog. The BeadforLife mission is to work toward lifting impoverished Africans out of poverty by connecting people from all over the world via the creative work of turning recycled paper into beautiful beads.

Merriam-Webster defines the word Create as:

  1. to bring into existence
  2. to invest with a new form, office, or rank
  3. to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior
  4. to cause to happen as a result of one’s actions

And what could be a better example of this then the work brought about by BeadforLife? Uniting people, transforming what was once thought of as waste, empowering the disempowered, bringing life to communities that are struggling to survive.

I invite you to explore the blog, including the pages that suggest great ways to get involved. Check out the page on hosting a bead party or the one about teaching the BeadforLife curriculum, which is designed for those looking for a way to engage students in global poverty issues. Read the guest blog written by Dave Ensign, a BeadforLife trip participant. Maybe you’ll be inspired to get involved too. I know I am.

Not only does this organization provide a way for us to be involved in this good work, but they also provide a way for us to purchase their beautiful creations. You can find their jewelry, and other products, online at the BeadforLife website.