Hello friends :)
I am not sure if you know, but one of the reasons I started to make jewelry was to get conversations started about the way we think of and treat animals. I have been living a vegan life for about 12 years now and I try not to ever look back. Really, the only thing that I wish was that I made the jump sooner.
In the beginning of my jewelry creating about 3 years ago I made a lot of what I now think of as "animal rights" pieces. Around the time of me teaching myself metalsmithing, Barnum & Bailey announced that they would be "retiring" the elephants from their shows and there was so much excitement in the animal loving community over this news! But, I knew in my heart that it wasn't all good news, or that the other wild animals would still be stuck in cages. Sometimes when I am feeling emotional over something it helps for me to go out back in my little coop studio and create. And this is something that came out from my heart and my hands. On top of the tiger's cage is a whip always reminding him that he has no control over his own life at all.
Then, news came of how many orcas had died at Sea World in such a short time and I was so shaken.
It angered me that this was not more talked about and that humans STILL don't leave these huge sea animals in the wild. Through my hands and emotions came this piece. Keep Me Wild.
As an animal lover, you hear a lot of discussion about the use of palm oil in so many of our food and household products. Many people do not consider this vegan to use, but even non-vegans believe it to be cruel because of the deforestation and homes destroyed of the orangutans that depend on their palm forests. It is not uncommon for these areas to be clear cut leaving so many animals hurt and homeless, but the workers will either kill orangutans in the way or burn down areas where these orangutans live with their families. Yes! Burn down with lives still there!
I was hoping that by creating this little orangutan in his palm tree home it might spark a conversation about them and the use of palm oil. He was a sweet little guy with the potential to educate when he was worn. Thankfully, he went to an animal rights activist for this exact reason and it still makes my heart happy!
Sadly, I had so many vegans themselves try to talk me out of creating art jewelry like this! I was very discouraged by their words that I stopped making animal rights pieces and went more in the direction of making plants instead because I thought they were correct. I quickly realized that isn't me. If I didn't make money creating pieces from my heart, that was fine. But at least creating them made me happy.
So, you will see a mixture of animal rights pieces secretly mixed in with my nature, plant, and animal themed pieces. I still hope they bring about conversation and help folks to see how beautiful and unique animals really are that we take for granted or think of as "food". Most people don't even recognize that the little calf I make in this momma and her baby pendant is male. I make him as a little boy because a male calf almost never is raised by his mother as they are thought of as a dairy "by-product". I love these two! All animals are capable of love, have emotions, and deserve to live their lives in safety and love.
I wrote quite a bit more on this subject close to my heart here as well.