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2021 Online Design Challenge Helen Chantler

Honoring One’s Heritage

3: Helen Chantler

As I mulled the project for a number of weeks, I started getting an image of a bear in my mind. I like creating animal-themed jewelry, and to me, a bear is about strength, playfulness, and all that time in hibernation from which they emerge in the spring, a starting-over place. I thought perhaps that was appropriate for Haseya, as she is obviously courageous and isn’t afraid of rising up and venturing out into the wider world in beauty after a long winter dream.

As I was feeling out the bear image, a hummingbird came to me. I love watching them on our porch in the summer. They represent joy and connection and are after the sweetness in life, and I thought that combining the two was symbolic of marriage in a way. They’re different creatures, but they’re coming together and relating—the hummingbird whispering in the ear of the bear. To connect the four-legged and the winged, I incorporated flowers, which always express the beauty and fragility of life connecting us all. That felt fitting for a piece being gifted to a daughter on her wedding day. Some of the turquoise, a gemstone so important to the cultures here in New Mexico, where I have lived for most of my life, will bring beauty to the centers of the flowers.

I designed the piece as a pendant. A sun-like ring decorates the top of the pendant, allowing Haseya a place to run a cord so it can be worn.

Helen Chantler is the CEO/lead designer of Reflective Jewelry in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


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