Roots of my beginnings mean a lot to me. I choose to be selective about all those memories, and single out a place that was frozen in time for nearly one hundred years. Deep in the “Endless Mountains” (also known as the Appalacians) of Pennsylvania, my father’s family has been the keepers for a simple cabin poised by a small creek named Indian Camp Run. My childhood was filled with what I refer to as the “Grandpa Grundy” stories my father used to tell. Although I have no idea who Grandpa Grundy was, or where or when I first heard the name, this always referred to tales of life in the long ago in a different time when there were only a few automobiles, no modern appliances or even indoor plumbing, no social media, and probably set during the Great Depression. My father, being a Boy Scout leader in his youth, took it upon himself to educate my sister and I on the wonders of Nature for a few weeks every summer. Rambling through the hills and into and along the creeks (we called them “cricks”…that’s Pittsburgese dialect). We turned over stones and caught crayfish if we were fast enough to spot them before they skittered away with the current in a cloud of fine silt. We hunted for soft-skinned miniature orange salamanders with black polka-dot spots and made houses for them in shoe boxes. We sampled wild mint, tea-berry leaves and mouthfuls of delicious fresh raspberries and blueberries, green apples, and hazelnuts and walnuts. We gathered huge bouquets of wildflowers that were everywhere in vases around the cabin. We learned to love the sound of rain on a tin roof and rummaging through ancient trunks filled with strange clothing and old photographs. After we were tucked into bed, we watched fireflies twinkle around us in the dark of the sleeping loft. …And the world was perfect then.
And now …well, lets say that I am continually seeking ways to regain that sense of the serenity of nature in my life and to remind myself of that perfection through my jewelry pieces. This pendant made from a worn splinter of shale is one I saved from a trip back to the mountains a few years ago. I plucked it out of the crick because I thought it was interesting, and now I need the memory to come alive again so its on the bench. I enfolded it in a copper bezel with rippling edges like the water and creek-bed that formed it. …A work in progress.