I began writing this newsletter reflecting that the month of March has been an in-between month for me in terms of travels, as well as the bridge month between winter and spring. As I reviewed photos from our recent road trip to Crystal Bridges art museum to see the show Border Cantos about the U.S./Mexico border, the concept of borders as spaces in between was an inevitable connection. The image above is of one of the photos in the show. You can see ghostly reflections of museum visitors and lights in the glass as you contemplate the infamous wall snaking across the desert hills.

Two artists, photographer Richard Misrach, and composer Guillermo Galindo, have collaborated to create a powerful, empathetic portrait of the border space between our country and Mexico and its impact on humans. Using found materials that migrants have left behind in their difficult journeys to the U.S. in hopes of finding a better life, Galindo constructs sculptures and experimental musical instruments whose sound patterns are an aural representation of the journey. Above are ladders that were left by the wall as well as one to which Galindo has attach objects that were dropped by migrants.

These haunting effigies were discovered by Misrach along the California border. He has no information about who made them or why, but their scarecrow appearance suggests they could be a warning to migrants.

Two sound sculptures constructed from found materials emblematic of the difficult journey across the border. Above, empty cans and bottles form a “piano” set on top of a background of Border Patrol ammunition boxes. At right, a percussive instrument refers to the long, dangerous walk that many migrants risk.

Tattered flags mark barrels of water left for migrants by aid groups. The two artists
state, We’re artists; we’re not politicians. We want to give people the experience of the border, and to get acquainted with the immigrants’ journey. To make it palpable. To make it human.”

As you exit the show, there is a wall where visitors can post comments about their own immigrant experiences. Immigration policies aside, the human aspect is inescapable when you visit this moving, thought-provoking exhibition.

Crystal Bridges Museum

It’s surprising to find this beautiful, state of the art museum in a remote corner of northwest Arkansas. The small town of Bentonville is the home of the Walmart founders and has become a destination for art lovers from all over the country. This was our third visit to see a specific show as well as their impressive permanent collection of American art.

The trail to the museum from the 21c Museum Hotel winds along a creek through trees and wildflowers, punctuated by a collection of sculptures including a James Turrell Skyspace installation.

Tanzanite for spring

Twig cuff with boulder opal, tanzanite and apatite.

Crocus and violet: dark and light tanzanite, faceted sapphires.

Beach Pebble necklace with Yowah opal and tanzanite.

It seems that nearly everyone loves the blue-violet color of tanzanite. Discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, this form of the mineral zoisite was named tanzanite by Tiffany & Co. who promoted and popularized this beautiful gem. A five square mile hilltop in northern Tanzania is the sole source for this material.

Raw tanzanite. The stone is often heat-treated for color enhancement to eliminate browns and greens. Faceted tanzanite is highly valued as a gemstone.

Tanzanite mine.

The largest tanzanite crystal found.

What We’re Watching

Speaking of gems and geology, Craig and I have been watching a series on Nova, titled Treasures of the Earth. It consists of three shows, Gems, Metals, Power, and explores the fascinating history, science and human use of minerals and metals. Available on Netflix and on the PBS website.

New from the bench

As always, Nature never runs short of design inspiration. Natural surface green tourmaline paired with a rose cut prehnite. Right: Mossy bark in the redwood forest in northern California.

Wing pearls grow in the hinges of freshwater oysters from China. The pearls’ lustre made me think of a Tulum sunset.

From the blogosphere

I met jewelry and fashion blogger Amy Roseveare, at the JCK jewelry show in Las Vegas last June. Amy covers a wide variety of designers, and she has recently published a blog about my jewelry! Check it out here.

March has been a month for regrouping after the Baltimore ACC show, while all kinds of plans for work and travel have been sprouting and demanding attention. My daughter stopped through during her move to NYC, spring home repairs are happening, life is humming along.

A moment of Zen: you can count on daffodils.

Next Friday – Hola, Mexico City!
–Sydney

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