Thursday, December 11, 2014

Coastal Christmas

Festival of Trees

Peak experiences. Being in the zone. These are moments many of us savor. As an artist, these are experiences I live for. To be able to step back from a project and feel that sense of pride and accomplishment is indescribable. The most curious thing for me is how attached I become to a project that goes well. This one, in particular, was hard to walk away from. 

The Festival of Trees is an annual fundraiser for The Pioneer Museum in Tillamook, Oregon. Donated trees are decorated and then bid on in a silent auction. This year, I joined my artist friends April and Kathryn in decorating a beautiful noble fir in a coastal theme. 

(I know this is a primarily a jewelry blog, and this is beginning to seem unrelated to jewelry. I promise you that it is. Hang in there with me.)

Here is the entrance to the display in the museum. Beautiful trees. Now we will walk through that doorway to the right. 

Our tree is the one in the back left corner.

Our sea-themed tree is decorated with shells, seaglass, sailboats, and ornaments. 

My most labor-intensive contribution was wire wrapping a dozen sand dollars I collected on our beach.  (See, now we are getting closer to a jewelry-related topic: wire.)
First I created a basket weave frame on the back and then spiraled "arms" to fold around to the front. With a loop for hanging, these can be tree ornaments now and necklace pendants after the tree is on the curb, naked and lonely. (See, jewelry!)

The next project was wire-wrapping shell fragments (collected on my beach) and tumbled glass as ornaments/necklace pendants. (More jewelry.) We made sure to place the glass in front of tree lights.

We glued ribbon hangers on purchased shells from a Rockaway Beach institution, Flamingo Jim's, and tied them on in sweet bows.

Probably the most challenging but also the most satisfying project was making these driftwood sailboats. How cute are they? Driftwood collected from my beach had a date with a drill and a hot glue gun. Fabric sails were hemmed and ropes added. I love these little guys!

Other beautiful trees filled the museum. 

The library tree was decorated with book page ornaments. Stunning!

The driftwood tree was stark and natural.

The perfect balance of this wreath sparkled in the spotlight.

Now here is the part that is both gratifying and bittersweet. Today I visited our tree for one last moment in the museum before it finds its home in one lucky person's living room. One final appreciative look before I walked away from it forever. I will miss seeing it but am happy that it will find a new home for the holidays. When the tree is long gone, our shell and glass pendants can be strung on cord as necklaces and worn forever. This was truly a joyful, peak experience in this most giving of holidays. 

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