What is Jewelweed?

Have you ever been hiking in the Blue Ridge mountains? Decades ago, it was among my favorite places to hike and camp…. I became entranced by the cool trails, the scenic waterfalls, moss covered streambeds, and towering forest. I intuitively felt the cleansing quality of the mountain air, was comforted by the sweet songs of babbling brooks, and allowed the abundance of beauty to infuse my heart with wonder….

It was in those wild spaces that I fell in love with Jewelweed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A member of the impatiens family, Jewelweed blooms from mid-Spring through mid-fall in the Eastern United States. It loves growing in creek beds and in moist woods, tending to choose areas that also have poison ivy or stinging nettle. It grows into a rather large bush, decorated with small blossoms. Its beautiful orange spotted yellow flowers are shaped a bit like trumpets, and they hang delicately from the stems like little jewels of the Divine Feminine. They produce quite a bit of sweet nectar, and attract hummingbirds like crazy! In fact, early English settlers sometimes called it the Hummingbird Bush! (Hummingbirds are a symbol of Joy!)

 

If you have ever brushed bare-legged up against stinging nettle and felt the fire of Hades intensifying moment by moment on your skin, you will appreciate the healing powers of Jewelweed.

Usually nearby (as a sign of Divine Inspiration), showing great compassion on the sensitive hiker, is the succulent green remedy that immediately provides relief… you simply identify the pretty plant, grab its lower stalk, and begin to mash to release the cooling salve straight from the stem. Within moments of applying the aloe-vera like gel on the flames…

AAAAAAAAaahhhhhhhhhh……….

When I first went into business as a custom jeweler, I decided to use the name Jewelweed. To honor the power of healing. To embrace the ideals of beauty and purpose. And to reflect my rather earthy values. Now, it has evolved to Jewelweed Sprouts… with new growth, the promise of abundance. Jewelweed has some great wisdom to share…

 

Create nectar to attract Joy.

Beauty serves a healing purpose.

Everything we need is within our reach.

 

 

How are you attracting Joy into your life?

Do you include experiencing beauty as a part of your health care?

Do you allow yourself to be provided for?

Leave a comment below, or head on over to facebook and join Friends Who Like Jewelweed Sprouts and keep the conversation going!

 

 

 

 

 

Altar with Hanuman, Servant of God

A Tour of My Jewelry Studio – Warts and All! (no actual warts, I promise!)

My studio is home to me. It is my cave, my hilltop (think “The Sound of Music”), and my deep blue sea. I go there in silence, I go there in dance, and I go there no matter my mood.

I spent six months without a studio once, and it nearly killed me. I had closed my jewelry store and was spending those months helping a friend build another business that she still runs today. I will never forget the way I felt after I told her I had to reopen my studio, that I couldn’t be her partner…it was exhilarating! My hands had been itching for my tools, and although I didn’t know how or where I was going to get my studio functioning again, I knew I HAD to do it.

At the time, I didn’t even know how I would market my creations. I just knew I was being called back into action, and who was I to deny my destiny?

My jewelry studio isn’t glamorous. It isn’t spotless, it has mismatched furniture, and often looks as if my supplies exploded all over every horizontal surface….and I love it. I did notice recently that it has some rockin’ elements of Feng Shui! My desk and my workbench are situated in the right places for maximum career and creativity, respectively. (Whew! THAT was lucky!)

Let me take you on a tour, going clockwise from the door….

Loose Gemstone Collection
Gemstone Eye Candy Inspiration

In my studio, there is a desk just for gemstones and custom orders to hang out and become what they need to be…like a staging area. Here, I toy with beautiful stones and pieces of what will be jewelry, after a few more processes like hammering, shaping, or polishing.

Hammers and Coils of Silver Wire
My collection of hammers and coils of silver wire

Above that table is a pegboard where I hang my collection of hammers and coils upon coils of sterling silver wire. It also bears photographs of a few folks I admire, and the smallest mirror I could possibly find to make sure I don’t step out into the world with a face full of smudges.

Still Life With Mandrels
Still Life With Mandrels

I have a sturdy table covered with different mandrels, steel plates, a small vise, my flexshaft, and a myriad of accessories for the flexshaft (grinders, polishers, stone setting burs). This table receives my hammerblows and is home to one of the ugliest benchpins in existence. Benchpins earn their ugliness from sawblades and files, drill bits and a wide variety of other tools of torture.

There is a very useful shelving unit in the corner (of love and marriage, according to feng shui)…it carries all those items I need on a varying basis….sometimes I think I need to rearrange a bit and put a large houseplant there instead. (noted on to-do list for several months running now…)

Snapshot of my jeweler's bench
My jeweler’s bench with the debris of creation in the sweeps drawer

Against the wall with windows is my jeweler’s bench. It has seen me through a lot of changes, even though it is only 5 years old. It bears the marks of errant torch flames, dried flux, and piles of random jump rings and tiny chips of solder, and even the occasional gemstone waiting patiently to be recognized as something worthy of a design.

My clean desk
The nerve center of my career

Taking a 90 degree turn, there sits my desk. My gorgeous rolltop desk (don’t get too excited) from Goodwill holds my packaging materials, my calendar, my scale and calculator, and a space almost too small for my laptop computer. It is the main focus when I am placing orders for gemstones and silver, preparing to mail out finished orders, and when I am keeping in touch with the outside world via social media.

Studio Altar
One of my mercurial altars, holding space for some inspiration

It doesn’t have a big file cabinet, or enough shelves to keep all my extra supplies off the floor. It doesn’t have a laser welder or a fancy polishing machine (that is relegated to the back porch for the sake of everyone else who lives in the house). It doesn’t have clean surfaces to eat from or sit on (don’t wear white in my studio!) But for all it doesn’t have, there is so much….

What my jewelry studio does have is a whole lot of authenticity, a heap of possibility, and plenty of space for the daily dance break (which is physically necessary after hours of being hunched over a bench pin!). It has a history of free-flowing creativity, hard work, and divine inspiration. It has a place for me to be fully me….and really I can’t ask for more than that.

To see what beauty comes from a space like this, check out my etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/anitashultz

Or wander over to my facebook page, Jewelweed Sprouts

 

Milky Way Galaxy

What’s up with all the spirals, Anita?

What’s so special about spirals? Why am I hooked on them? What is the meaning of a spiral? The answer goes back to the beginning of time as we know it….

My mind rests on archetypes, symbols on human memory that run so deep we don’t know where they began. I love that kind of “knowing”, that deep understanding that is elusive to words. I mean, I can describe these elements in words…but words only point to the moon, they can never BE the moon. It’s the “golden ratio” in nature, but what does that really MEAN?

Sterling Silver Celtic Triskelion
Triple Spiral Pendant made by me… available at https://www.etsy.com/listing/264370950/handmade-sterling-silver-pendant

In those moments when many folks might switch on the radio to the popular music station and bop their heads to the beats everyone else is bopping to, I listen to a different drummer, always have. My favorite forms of entertainment include documentaries about ancient civilizations (like the Etruscans, or the Mayans, or the Celts, ooh, or Egypt!), sometimes I even get really crazy and get deep into crop circles or history of religions of the world. I know, it isn’t everyone’s scene, but perhaps that’s why I enjoy working alone. Nobody in my private studio rolls their eyes at me! No grumbles of dissent or grunts of displeasure. This is the stuff with which I nourish my mind, which inspires my creations.

Beverly's Ammonite Fossil Pendant
Custom Pendant 14K Gold and Ammonite Fossil made by me

Spirals have been a part of my jewelry since I started playing with metal. Spirals are one of the oldest symbols known in spiritual practices. Of course, before written language, spiritual practice was simply a part of human living. There was no separation between the sacred and the mundane. There still isn’t, really…except that many people only recognize the sacred in certain places or at certain times. I prefer to think of the mundane activities of daily life as a part of the sacred script of existence.

Newgrange Entrance Stone Spirals
Example of ancient stone carving in Ireland. thanks to Nomadtales, found on wikipedia.

Spirals represent growth and evolution, the womb, life force energy, to remind of us our ever expanding journey in awareness in this life. I use the spiral as a personal talisman, to remind me of the changes that occur within the cycles of life. It helps me to see that although some days seem just like any other, they are singular and completely unique, as I am reflecting back on life from a different point of view. My spiral ring keeps me focused on my own personal growth, on the inevitability of change and development. As we all know, accepting change is one of the greatest powers a human can possess.

Fibonacci Spirals in Nature
Fibonacci Spirals in Nature, thanks to https://www.pinterest.com/explore/fibonacci-spiral/

We can find spirals in nature, in the shape of shells or the arrangement of petals on a flower. They have been painted on cave walls and carved into stone all over the world for eons. It is the shape of a hurricane. Where do you see spirals? Do you sense the footprint of the ancient wisdom in your life path? What kind of spiral really pulls you in?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/272129578/simple-sterling-silver-spiral-ring
See how at home a spiral is among our other symbols? you can get one at my shop! https://www.etsy.com/listing/272129578/simple-sterling-silver-spiral-ring

Imagine your life as a spiral, a divine pathway pulling you to inner exploration at the same time as you are thrust by centrifugal force outward. The most perfect part of the spiral is wherever you are in relation to your center.

 

You can find all kinds of spirals over at my etsy shop:

Pendants:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/264370950/handmade-sterling-silver-pendant

Earrings:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/293932979/rainbow-moonstone-silver-scroll-earrings

Rings:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/294307929/rose-quartz-ring-hammered-silver-ring

Have a look around! And around….and around…..and around…. (hee hee, just a little spiral humor there to lighten things up!)

 

Stepping in….Welcome to my world….

Anita Shultz

I am an artist. I make one of a kind fine handmade jewelry. I love gemstones, I love metal. It was only natural I would evolve this way. I am interested in the tactile aspects of jewelry, and how it is a form of art we carry on our body. It is a very intimate item. Often jewelry is made to honor life’s most wonderful moments. I have been blessed and fulfilled to be a trusted custom jeweler for almost 25 years, weaving life’s stories into metal and stone.

It’s funny somehow that this sounds glamorous to some people…usually it involves being covered in abrasive or polishing compound, listening to the buzz of the ultrasonic and the schick-schick-schick of the tumbler. I have been devoid of a manicure for years and I wash my hands so often my knuckles are chapped. Every so often when I’m working I’ll get an itch on the end of my nose, or near my eye, and end up looking like a prize fighter by the next time I check the mirror. My wardrobe choices reflect a necessary wash and wear mentality, and my shoes are somehow always dirty. On an even more glamorous note, I have begun to wear house shoes while I work, since I can toss them in the washing machine when they start leaving footprints….

I know I’m on the right path for me, though. I can spend hours in silence sawing out intricate shapes, filing, hammering and sanding, time standing still. I love the sound metal makes, the way light makes its surfaces sparkle. I even love the gritty feel of metal dust covering my hands. The best part is when all is said and done, the surface sparkles and is set with lovely gems, and it becomes a receptacle for interpretation, for sentiments, for memories…a gift worth giving, a treasure worth receiving.

(And so much fun to make!)

Currently I showcase almost all of my designs on my facebook page, Jewelweed Sprouts. I market many designs in my etsy shop, anitashultz. I offer custom designs through my etsy shop, as well. Some of my work is sold through stores like Capone’s Fine Jewelry in Blacksburg, VA, Raiford Gallery in Roswell, GA, Christie’s Jewelers in San Marcos, TX, and ib designs in St. Croix, USVI. More on my experiences as a jeweler in St. Croix later.

https://www.facebook.com/Jewelweed-Sprouts-206939962694579/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/anitashultz