Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Gift For A College Grad

(Full disclosure: I don't reveal much about the plot of The Giving Tree book, but I do say a few words about the story. Please be advised that you may want to read the book first before reading this post. Also, please be advised that you may want to read this post before reading the book. Just sayin'...)

My little sister is graduating from college this weekend. (I guess she's not little anymore, but she'll always be "little sister" to me.) Graduating from college is quite an achievement in and of itself, but in our family, her accomplishment is especially important because she's the first sibling to graduate!  
I started out on the right foot, attending my first year on a full-ride academic scholarship. Then I dropped out to tour in a rock band. (To this day, I still think I had my priorities straight. Ha.)

Dia, the sister below me in age, never went to college.  (She also had her priorities straight.) So, although Dia and I consider ourselves smarter than a cookie without a college degree, we are still super proud of our younger sister for finishing. 
I've been looking for the perfect graduation gift. I decided to give her a book, a book that isn't known for its difficult vocabulary, worthy of a college grad's intellectual stamina. It's just a simple book that made me feel very deeply when I first read it many years ago. 

I remember my band was on tour and we stopped in a Barnes & Noble. I picked up a book called "The Giving Tree", mainly because of the bright green cover and hand-drawn illustrations.

By the time I turned to the last page, my mascara had smeared halfway down my cheeks. I quietly put the book down, proceeded to run through the store like a loony, covering my runny nose, while trying to find the ladies' room.
What a beautiful story. Ugh, it chokes me up even thinking about it. Shel Silverstein is one of those wise authors who is skilled in hiding adult topics in children's books. He makes you accidentally learn important life lessons when all you thought you were in for was light entertainment.
Inspired by this purchase, I decided to design a new necklace. At first, I thought that I wanted to make a traditional looking tree, using tones of burnt sienna for the trunk and branches. Then I decided I wanted to make it look a bit more imaginative, closer to the tree in the book. So I made the trunk a deep, hunter-green.

I added my own touches, curling the tips of the branches, dusting the whole piece lightly with a mossy-brass talcum powder.

I added the hanging apple, because the first thing the tree gave the boy was the apple. Then I finished the design with a black patina to give it that "rustic" and "antique" vibe I love so much.
My favorite part of the tree is the heart on the trunk. I carved it into the clay just like you would carve a heart into a real tree. 
This is the finished design. I'm very proud of The Giving Tree necklace:

You can order "The Giving Tree" necklace  HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Adorable story and necklace. Love both. I just had a thought... have you ever considered doing a collaboration with Emi Grannis? I know Kina and Dia are acquainted, and Emi is a metalsmith, so I bet you two could come up with a really cool piece together. http://www.emigrannis.com/shops/