Green Things Growing: Inspiration behind the new Verdure Collection

Green Things Growing: Inspiration behind the new Verdure Collection

Back in 2016 my family went through a few transitions: the birth of our son, and the decision to move from Denver, CO to Tucson, AZ where I had family and the cost of living was more affordable. But work was not easily come by. After living in Denver, Tucson felt ridiculously small, and so did the opportunities. We had built up our savings, so we were not unprepared for a few months of finding the right jobs. But when a few months went by and we were still looking, it became clear that we may not be able to hold out for the “perfect” work situation. And with an infant and a toddler, our savings was dwindling quickly. It took four months, but I finally settled on a position with a company I felt would be the best fit for my family, knowing that the hours would be difficult, and the training situation was not ideal. They wanted me to go to Portland, Oregon for 6 weeks. My husband wasn’t working yet, so child care was not the issue. Leaving behind a 9-month-old and a one and a half year old weighed heavy on me. Separation would be hard. 

Under any other circumstance (meaning, single or childless) this trip would have been awesome. As it was, I made the best of things. I was put up in a small hotel room with a kitchenette. There were no other amenities like a gym or pool. I’m an introvert and a homebody, but there was no way I was going to spend more time than I had to in my stifling hotel. On my days off I decided to take road trips and find hiking trails.

If you’re familiar with Tucson, you know it is dry and dusty. There’s a lot more to it, of course, and I love the desert. But while we drive on bridges over the Rillito river (the “Little River river”), it rarely has water in it. We have lots of beautiful mountains, and tons of hiking and biking trails, but water comes from the sky, and rarely. Summer monsoons have been known to fill our Little River, but not for long. Flash floods are common at that time of year, as tempestuous storms in the mountains can send cascades of water in torrents down narrow canyons, sweeping away everything in its wake, including careless hikers. And in springtime when snowmelt fills the creeks and starts waterfalls up again, our desert turns green for just a little while. (Yes, we get snow in our mountains every winter!)

Most often, when it does rain, it is a matter of hours, or maybe a couple soggy gray days. Desert plants suck up any moisture from the air or ground, and then wait patiently for weeks or months before they get another watering. What a contrast, then, for a Desert Rat (as we Tucsonans like to call ourselves) to find herself in the Pacific Northwest.


Let me repeat, we have green things in the Southwest. And, contrary to the complainers, we do have seasons—not the same seasons as other places, but we do have them! In the desert, plant-life is sharply aggressive and fiercely tenacious. In the PNW I found it to be softly inviting, taking a gentle and subtle chokehold. However, the water is what was most astonishing to my desert-bred sensibilities.

It seeps from the ground as if from an oversaturated sponge, so abundant as to be wasteful. Plants exude it from their very pores. In fact, the plants grow atop one another in a riotous frenzy to absorb it. Mosses, ferns, and vines wrap and drape themselves greedily over the wide-spreading branches of trees, like wild children swarming for treats.

Colonies of mushroom and fungus march up the trunks of trees, or hunker under fallen limbs, swollen with moisture.

Everywhere I looked were trickles and streams of water, pouring carelessly down the sides of hills, meandering across pathways, and trickling and misting endlessly from the sky. And it was green. Every shade and tone of rich verdant, virescent green.

There is something about standing in an untamed forest overgrown with life that is thoroughly enchanting, and filled with wonder. It was a balm to my heart while I was so far away from my loved ones. I knew I needed to translate this, somehow, into metal and stone.

For 8 years I’ve had this idea hibernating in my brain, quietly awaiting the right moment to emerge. A few years ago I started collecting Moss Agates. It was like oxygen to the banked coals of this vision; slowly the flames of inspiration have been flickering into life. Moss agates beautifully capture, in miniature, this sense of things growing. Some of these stones look like bits of lichen clinging to a stone and trapped within ice. Others are like tangles of Spanish moss. Some look like golden algae and grasses waving gracefully within cold streams of water. Some are dimly viewed as through a mist.

I started playing with silver, melting and coaxing it into entwining curls, as though it were vines that might hold these stones in place. Wanting an organic feel, I let the fire work its own transformation on metal, which seeks to become liquid when heated. This emerging collection is about seeing the small things that are often overlooked, as much as it is about capturing the lost feeling of a place. Instead of creating rigid structures, I wanted the metal to move the way plants do-insidiously pursuing light by whatever coiling, twisting path. 

I may never fully achieve the vision in my mind, but the pursuit of it has certainly been rewarding. I'm hoping that this collection will embody some of what I felt, tucked into the green heart of that place. The Verdure Collection will be available late-May. Sign up for emails to get release dates.


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