Thursday, April 1, 2021

Roots Project: Passive Jewelry Piece #1

Bamboo root, Reed Manna root, bone

This Passive Jewelry series is the second stage in a series of experiments involving native grass roots (see The Roots Project). I have used the term "passive" to distinguish this series from a collaborative series currently in progress. In this passive series the roots are simply serving as materials; they play no active role in working collaboratively to create the jewelry.

This first piece was one of those happy accidents, introducing Lucky Bamboo (dracaena) root to the mix. I realized one of my Lucky Bamboo stalks had become root-bound in its container of water. I experimented, cut the lower portion of the stalk with the roots off entirely, and put the old stalk back in a fresh container of water (where it is surviving happily and madly sending off fresh roots). So - it turns out you can sustainably harvest Lucky Bamboo roots!

Lucky Bamboo (left), and Reed Manna 

The first step involved carefully teasing apart the Reed Manna clump into separate strands.

Reed Manna root

The Lucky Bamboo root had grown into a swirling circle in the confines of its water container, and this shape triggered the inspiration for the rest of the piece.

Lucky Bamboo root

Below, you can see the longest, strongest  Reed Manna roots teased out into workable strands. The ball, which was formed from shorter, weaker roots, was set aside for a later piece of jewelry. 

Necklace materials

It was possible to thread long strands of Reed Manna root onto an embroidery needle and stitch/loop it through the bamboo from either side, and then string on little tiny beads made out of bone, picked up long ago, somewhere or other.

Close-up: Roots and bone

And that brings us to the end of our narrative on this first root jewelry piece. Stay tuned.

The first root necklace


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