The Coconut Man


I love the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My first memories are of playing in the sand underneath the houses on stilts. There is still a sense of home for me here.

There is something wild about her coasts. The sea will do what she will. You cannot tame her.

Today I watched 8 foot swell roll in from some tropical storms pushing in. I wanted so badly to get out there and surf, but I know my limits, and no amount of paddling with these little arms would allow me to not get crushed by the overhead swell.

Instead, I took a walk along the slanted, wave beaten shore. Looking at the water coming in, I saw a coconut, covered in little clams, and I  watched it roll up out of the water and tumble towards me.

A few years ago, I was on the beach in St. Kitts relaxing in the Caribbean sun with my mom, when a huge, and gentle spirited local man approached us. Broad shouldered, with gorgeous, dark skin, he shyly offered us a few coconuts that he had gathered that morning. I had never had a fresh coconut before, and I was eager to try one. 

When we tried to pay him, he refused. 'God provides', he said, smiling a toothless smile. 'You cannot pay me for what is free.'

And so miles and miles from any coconut grove, I am reminded that the best things in life are free. 

The struggle is real

Sometimes it feels that no matter how hard you try to move upward, you aren't making any traction.  

With the change in season, we're definitely enjoying the pleasantness of weather and a few more waves out in the sea. But as with any change, there can always be a natural resistance to moving forward.  

We believe that if you find yourself stuck on the inside, it's best to slow down, take a deep breath, and instead of fighting to push through, see if you can go with the flow as opposed to resisting. Often a shift in approach and perspective is all you need.  

So while learning to work with stiff, seemingly inflexible, metal, I'm reminded of what my jewelry professor said,  'Jewelry is a gentle art.' And I take a deep breath....


Our legacy


The ocean is my favorite place to be. Wide and expansive, with depths I will never comprehend,  it makes me feel vulnerable and helpless, and at the same time, all encompassed and safe.  

They say the percentage of water on earth mirrors the amount of water in our own bodies. That in essence, we are made of the same substances as those that comprise the sea and the stars.  There is no separation or distinction. 

I also believe that the health and vibrancy of our earth and that of the ocean reflects our own sanità, not  only our physical health, but our mental soundness as well. 

I propose we start to think of things in a more holistic manner.  I'd love to discuss what we each can do to live in a way that is responsible and sustainable. What changes must we make so we can honor and respect this great gift that sustains us, feeds and waters us, and is a source of much joy and pleasure?  






A bit of necessary reflection

A blue heron came to visit on Captiva Island, Florida  

A blue heron came to visit on Captiva Island, Florida  

This past week, by great fortune, instead of shoveling snow, I've found myself shoveling sand. I was able to escape the winter storm that pounded the East Coast and made my way to Captiva Island, Florida in the Gulf of the Mexico.  

While on the beach the other day, a giant blue heron flew down by the water right next to us. I got as close to this statuesque bird as I could, studying his awkward elegance and proud, gangly stance.  He stood tall and calm for such a long while, until the perfect moment when he pierced the water and flew away with his prize catch.

In observing him, it made me take a step back to reflect and reevaluate where I spend my own energy.

Lately I am finding the pace of modern life to be incredibly fast and overwhelmingly unfamiliar. And while I'm grateful for the opportunities it presents, I also feel it has a tendency to push me too fast with little respect for my own natural rhythm. To a certain extent I think everyone feels the unrealistic expectations of being constantly connected and perpetually available in order to seize every presentable opportunity, lest you miss out. 

I wonder if there is something to be said for waiting and listening to yourself to know deep down what feels right; striking when the right opportunity presents itself, instead of frantically snagging every little fish that swims by. 

This year I want to make more deliberate choices in my work and in my life by listening to what is right for me and my needs and those close to me.  

What are the different ways in which you can take a step back and listen to your own soul in order to use your energy and talents more efficiently?  


The delicate design process

One Sunday as I was walking, I saw a delicate wing on the ground. I find everything on the ground. Money, sea treasures, lost earrings, feathers. It's the tiny and discarded that spur my imagination. 

cicada wings

I wanted to see what this small, paper thin wing would look like in metal. I suppose if I were a painter, I would want to see it on canvas. But here I am, using my saw blade as a paint brush.

Drilling holes and piercing them out.

Drilling holes and piercing them out.

Renoir said, 'Painting isn't daydreaming. It's manual work that has to be done conscientiously.' I believe the same to be true about jewelry, and any craft for that matter. Malcom Gladwel has concluded that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to attain mastery in a field. And so it is no surprise to me as well that many of the Renaissance's great names started off as goldsmiths' apprentices, including Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi and Sandro Botticelli (to learn more, click here).

cicada wings