Silver, Carnelian, Mirror and Clear Acrylic
6 Earring Series inspired by walking the Camino de Santiago
Everyone is walking their own Camino. In this line of jewelry, I work with the idea of the journey reflecting my experiences from a month of walking 679 kilometers across Spain on the Camino de Santiago.
The first half of the series consist of three studs and three ear jackets that are interchangeable to create an interpretation unique to the wearer. They can be worn with or without the ear jacket and the wearer can take different components and add their own, truly making it a personalized experience. The multi-functionality of these three pairs represents how everyone’s experiences are different and the vast interpretations that people bring into art or leave with on their travels. From my personal experience, I was constantly looking for arrows (eye with stylized arrow ear jacket) as I walked and talked with fellow pilgrims from various countries speaking different languages (lips with sporty sock legs ear jacket) with shells displayed on our backpacks as a symbol of walking the Camino (red carnelian with shell ear jacket).
When I began metalsmithing, I used it as a way to handle the reverse culture shock I was experiencing after studying abroad in England. It was my cathartic way of processing all the amazing and crazy occurrences and encounters I had. The process of creating these pieces reflect the journey itself as the second half of the series represent the stages of my trip: preparation (walking stick), the trip itself (the arrows), and coming home (mirrors). Preparation is important, in travel as well as creating. On the Camino, you quickly learn you can never be prepared for everything, such as a kidney stone and a knee injury among others. The walking sticks were immensely important for walking with my knee injury, but they also represent the help I received from strangers and fellow pilgrims whether this was fruit gifted by locals I passed, the simple good wishes of “Buen Camino” for moral support to keep walking, or even translating as I needed an ambulance while walking through a rural area. I began this series in my travel notebook, sketching ideas along the walk as well as jotting down interesting experiences, words, sights, smells etc. The walk consisted of a scavenger hunt for the arrows as the next pair of earrings represent. Continue to the next arrow. Never stop walking. If you haven’t seen an arrow, you might be off path. It keeps you moving forward, noticing the incredible nature that surrounds you, and gives your mind something to focus on when walking for hours a day. While creating, I listened to the playlist I developed on the Camino, I looked at pictures I took as visual inspiration, and I shed the same blood, sweat, and tears recalling the lovely memories and the trials I conquered (possibly passing another small kidney stone in the making of these) that keep me going back for more adventures. The statement, “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey” could not be more accurate as the low point of the Camino was finishing. Arriving in Santiago meant everything I had just experienced and conquered was over. I will never relive those experiences. I might not even see those people again. These thoughts haunt me as my memories of what’s behind me begins to get spotty, like the leopard print cut out window in the last pair of earrings, also representing the funky hint of leopard print I included in each of my three outfits I wore for a month. The mirrors show what I see around me but in a new way, as I see things differently after returning home. I look at everything through the eyes of those I walked with for a month. I try to reflect the awe I had in Spain, when everything was new and different, in my “real” life, but still holding on to those memories since they were real too. These earrings are a representation of the path- from start to finish, and beyond- and how those lessons remain in my life. As I return to “real” life, I remind myself, “What I just experienced was REAL.” I look at these finished pieces and see they are real too. I made these. I finished the Camino.