Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mountains of Inspiration

Jennifer Valentine circa 1983
     When I was young I'd often visit my grandmother in New Jersey and I'd go to youth camp for a week in the mountains of Vermont...we would gather together around a fire and sing in the evenings...laughter and song bursting into the darkness around us...it was a place where I felt a belonging. I know we all felt it...
and we'd sing my favorite silly song "His Banner Over Me is Love". To make a long story a bit shorter, the song required a lot of silliness with hand gestures and body contortions that had everyone laughing hysterically and feeling present in God's love all around us. This necklace is homage to those summers...we, the branches on the vine of deep and compassionate, unconditional love.
The photo above is of me, my first summer there in Vermont, hiking on Mount Killington. I was 13 and wearing my first pair of Levi's; a bouquet of wildflowers in my back pocket...a Florida girl, touching a mountain stream for the very first time. This picture, I cherish, because it captured me at my essence...a girl immersed in nature, noticing the intricacies of life and flowers and the pebbles in a stream...an innocent heart filled with the joy of creation. Even then I knew that the beauty of this world is no accident.
He is the Vine, religious assemblage necklace
He is the Vine, religious assemblage necklace
He is the Vine, religious assemblage necklace

This religious assemblage necklace I created has amazing luminous antique opal beads,  flourishes of Art Nouveau elements, bits of vintage chain and an antique, well worn cross. I really love to incorporate leaves and the organically shaped elements of nature into my work.