As a child, almost all of my family’s vacations were spent on tropical islands (not the greatest climate for a blue eyed, redhead I might add). To this day there is a certain kind of heat-backed, spicy floral scent that means “home” and “safe” to me. I have a vivid image from when I was about 5 or 6: I’m sitting in an courtyard, surrounded by very old stones and red hibiscus, at the edge of a pond, covered with water lilies and hoping, desperately, that I’ll get to see one of the fish who live in the pond.
My determination paid off, and the fish finally presented themselves. After that excitement wore off, I began to notice the water lilies. The leaf structure! The bright yellow of the flowers! And most importantly, that these flowers were growing in the water and not on land, just blew my little brain. From that moment on, I loved water lilies.
It was only a matter of time before I carved a piece inspired by them.
Last summer was so strange: bizarre coincidences, chance meetings, people I thought I’d never speak to again in this life returned, and incredible synchronicities abounded. Even with all the good in this, I felt deeply unsettled, and sort of scared. At some point, one of my best friends said to me, “I have to say, I think you’re doing really well- it’s just all the chaos swirling around you.” and then, laughing, “It’s like the water lily growing in the mud!”
That was all I needed to hear. I whipped out my sketch pad and began designing a new ring. I wanted it to be very large, and dramatic with deeper carving than I’d done in the past.
Keeping with the theme of the summer, every time I sat down to carve, a major storm would start up. I think of sitting at my bench and my attention being torn between the wax I was working on, and the stunning lighting, and cacophonous thunder that was exploding outside my window. I felt the most expansive sense of joy when carving this piece; it’s difficult to describe.
Symbolically, depending on the culture, lily pads can represent enlightenment, resurrection, transformation and purity of heart. Along with all of that, to me, this ring represents making the best of whatever life throws at us: to feel safe, and secure, even when the storm is raging around.