Hello Summer!

I can’t believe this is my first post in nearly two months! Since the weather is so beautiful here in New England right now, the theme of this post is nature. I’ll be sharing some woodland animal-inspired jewelry, photos of my first kayaking trip of the season and some random photos taken on walks with my dog.

I’ve mentioned my Etsy shop and team participation a few times. I recently joined some new teams, one called Animal Totems (check us out here: Animal Totems Team). Inspired by the other amazing shops run by members of this team, I created a series of animal spirit jewelry. A while back I had made some bear paw prints out of clay and wasn’t sure what to do with them at the time. So I made some more paw/claw prints as well as some clay claws, teeth, antlers and a feather:

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Initially I planned to use an animal track and a claw or tooth together as part of a more eclectic necklace, like this one for the cat:

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While I do love how this one turned out, it seemed it may be too much for some people to handle, plus if I separated them out, I could make way more necklaces!

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Each of the necklaces shown above and more are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: Animal Spirit Jewelry

Since today was too hot to not be near the water, I took old Nemo (yeah, that’s my kayak) out for the first paddle this summer. Our street is on a river, Little River, which feeds into the Annisquam River in Gloucester, MA. Here’s a map showing my route with the red line:

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I paddled down Little River and passed under the Andrew Piatt Bridge…

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I paddled further and in the middle of where marshes are at low tide I saw a tiny little island, with rocks and small trees on it…

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I had to pull up here and check it out. This was a pretty cool spot that I came across and definitely beat the beach since I was the only person there!

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This certainly was a great weekend and I am looking forward to many more kayaking adventures. Here are some cool pics I’ve taken around the yard and neighborhood to keep with the nature theme!

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Animal Speak

Animal Speak

While I am not a religious person, I do consider myself to be a spiritual person. I find inspiration from the natural world, especially our animal friends.

My father, who himself was brought up in the Catholic Church, has always had a great respect for Native American beliefs. He taught my sister and I a lot about their culture, and helped instill in us the importance of caring for and respecting all animals.

I have always felt a special connection to animals and am completely fascinated by all kinds. I changed my degree focus in college from Art to Biology solely for the purpose of working with animals in some way. I spent a year as a Veterinary Technician, an experience that taught me so much and that I will always be grateful for. At one time, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian myself. While that dream did not come true, the impact that animals have had on my life continually inspires me. (I should also mention that my sister is now a professional dog walker, so she was clearly impacted by them as well!)

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Learning to handle a sheep at Tufts’ Vet School’s, Adventures in Veterinary Medicine program, 2008.

I know this is why I very much enjoy creating pieces that reflect animals in some way. I created tiny clay marine animal sculptures that I turned into necklaces, earrings and ornaments, collectively referred to as Salt Marsh Creations.

In college, one of the most interesting courses I completed was Marine Mammal Biology. The adaptations that these animals evolved to be able to live and thrive in such an extreme environment are amazing.

I wanted to be able to honor these animals by making elegant and fresh accessories that anyone can wear. I think that adults should be able to incorporate a little animal into their fashion style too!

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Narwhals, seastars, horseshoe crab and dugong sculptures.

Just this weekend I finished making some whale tails out of Paperclay. They are simple and stylish and just need the right necklaces to hang from!

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Paperclay whale tails… works in progress.

I find birds to be such amazing creatures as well. Their anatomical and physiological development has made them into such perfect creatures that excel in their role in nature. The feather is arguably one of the most significant single adaptations of all animals. It’s design is so beautiful yet functional. I have been very inspired by the feather and made many clay feather pendants a while back. They are fun and quirky and make very cute summer accessories.

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Inspired by the simple yet intricate beauty of feathers, I have created this series of jewelry. The centerpiece of the necklace is a handsculpted clay feather that has been handpainted using acrylic paint and clear lacquer.

I just started working on a new series of tiny clay sculptures inspired by woodland animals and a book I refer to from time to time called, Animal Speak. The book describes the spiritual symbolism of animals as interpreted by Native Americans. It has very interesting information and ideas and just provides a unique perspective into the animal world. This book should give me almost limitless ideas for new projects!

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New little Paperclay owls – works in progress!

I’m so glad that I shared this because it is such an important aspect of my life. It makes me realize just how much animals have impacted nearly every part of my life. So I cannot end this post without mentioning my best animal friend, Jackson. Actually, he’s kind of like my child still, even though he’s almost four! My husband and I adopted him right after our honeymoon back in 2009. He’s a hound mix from Georgia and he’s got such a funny personality. He’s awesome to come home to after work and the best companion I could ask for!

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My puppy Jackson!

From, Animal Speak:

When we learn to speak with the animals, to listen with animal ears and to see through animal eyes, we experience the phenomena, the power, and the potential of the human essence, and it is then that the animals are no longer our subordinates. They become our teachers, our friends, and our companions. They show us the true majesty of life itself. They restore our forgotten childlike wonder at the world, and they reawaken our lost belief in magic, dreams and possibilities.

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This post is dedicated to my Dad, thank you!