Copper Labyrinth Earrings, Handmade Terracotta Lampwork Turquoise Artisan Spiral Jewelry
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Because of my fascination with the ancientness of spirals and labyrinths, I designed a pair of handmade earrings using artisan made, copper labyrinth squares. To complement the copper, etched terracotta colored lampwork glass beads with copper bead caps were added. Faceted turquoise, faceted red Czech glass and handmade copper earwires add pops of beautiful color to the overall design. The one of a kind (OOAK) earrings have a sun drenched, Southwest feel to them. Because of the rustic feel and the coloration, the unique LABYRINTH earrings have a glorious ancient artefact look to them, like a petroglyph painted or pecked onto the red rock walls of a canyon cave. Jewelry for the discerning woman, the LABYRINTH earrings were carefully designed and created by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs.
- Labyrinth squares: app. 15 mm x 15 mm; solid copper
- Terracotta lampwork beads: app. 11 mm x 8 mm
- Turquoise rondelles: app. 6 mm x 4 mm; faceted
- Red Czech glass rondelles: app. 5 mm x 3 mm; faceted
- Earwires: handmade (by me) copper French hooks
- Length: app. 2.75" / 6.9 cm from the top curve of the earwires
***Please note: If you have an allergy to copper, I will be glad to switch out the earwires to sterling silver French hooks. The French hooks are simpler and smaller in design. Please check out a few of the other earrings photos in my studio to see the sterling earwires. The length of the earrings with sterling earwires would be app. 2.25" / 5.7 cm from the top curve.
Labyrinths have been in use for over 4000 years and can be found depicted all around the world. Some of the earliest are found in Greece and date back to 2500-2000 B.C.E. This seven-circuit labyrinth of the Greeks is classic and the design was used on their coins and pottery. At about the time the Greek labyrinth was created, an almost identical pattern appeared in Native American culture, the Tohono O'odham labyrinth which features I'itoi, the "Man in the Maze". Labyrinths also appear on many cave and canyon walls throughout the Southwest. An early Christian labyrinth can be dated to the 4th century at a basilica near Algiers. Perhaps the most famous labyrinth is the one laid into the cathedral floor at Chartres, France, an eleven-circuit design.
All that being said, you can see the copper labyrinth design in the copper squares is very simple, a basic three-circuit design. Lovely raised lines create wonderful deep texture and spiral into the center at right angles, then spiral back out again. The squares used in the LABYRINTH earrings were individually created by long time artist friend, Kristi of KristiBowmanDesign from start to finish. The squares were created from precious metal copper clay, an artist's clay that is impregnated with very fine copper particles, an organic binder and water. After the clay was shaped, molded, imprinted and carved by Kristi, the squares were put in a kiln and fired at high heat. During the time in the kiln, the binder is burned off and pure copper remains.
After the squares cooled, they were lightly tumbled. To bring out a glorious copper patina, the squares were heated again with a butane torch. A sealant was then used on the front and back to protect the color of the metal for many years to come. The squares are not perfectly flat, but rather have a slight domed shape. The copper labyrinth squares were wire wrapped in a rustic manner to the top elements of the earrings with copper wire.
Another artist friend created the stunning lampwork glass beads, Charlotte of Covergirlbeads. The beads were individually handmade by Charlotte using a glass called Hawaiian Clay. It is a rich orange brown color which reminds me of Saltillo tiles, weathered terracotta pots, old adobe and red sandstone cliffs. Despite the name of the glass, the lampwork beads definitely have a Southwest color feel me. The lampwork beads were etched for a sun drenched, desert look. To highlight the lampwork beads even further, I added solid copper bead caps to the top and bottom of the beautiful lampies. A single 2 mm copper bead was also added.
To add even more Southwest color, I chose a gemstone and a glass bead. The gemstone is turquoise in a rich blue color with just a hint of green, representing the huge sky. The turquoise rondelles are faceted, giving a bit of sparkle to the earrings. They sit above the copper bead caps. Then I stacked a "sun faded" red Czech glass rondelle on top of the turquoise. The red glass has a copper Picasso finish on the top and bottom and is also faceted for a bit more earring sparkle. A 2 mm copper bead was placed on top of each red Czech glass rondelle.
All of the elements were strung on the copper wire that was wire wrapped to the labyrinth squares. The top of the wire was rustically wire wrapped into a loop. Because I thought these earrings needed large copper earwires, I decided to make a lovely, curving pair. The main body of the LABYRINTH earrings were then connected to the handmade earwires for a perfect finish to the.
For a better understanding of the relative size of the LABYRINTH Southwest color inspired earrings, please be sure to check out photo #8 for a size comparison with a dime.
Labyrinths have been used all over the world for several millennia as a tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Copper is said to allow the wearer to recognize barriers in the path of personal development. Even though man made, glass carries the energies of transformation, rebirth and communication. Turquoise is a sacred stone to many cultures, especially the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni. Turquoise is a stone of wholeness, promoting a sense of unity with all that surrounds us; it brings peace of mind, a soothing energy and healing of the spirit.
The LABYRINTH earrings will be carefully packed in an organza jewelry bag, perfect for gift giving to a loved one . . . or to yourself!
***Please be aware that not all monitors show colors exactly the same. The colors of the items used to create my jewelry are extremely close to the actual color on my monitor. The colors may appear lighter or darker on your monitor.
Shadow Dog Designs
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for the Discerning Woman
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