Ferns On Your Ears

Artwork / Monday, December 14th, 2020

Ferns that hang from trees can now hang from our ears! Here’s the story of this awesome collaboration of two bad ass women!

Amber (@gingermadeartisan) and I met in Jacksonville, FL when we both lived there in 2013.

Circa 2013 (wee babes)

Neither of us live in Jax anymore but we’ve followed each other on Instagram for years and have been able to keep up with each others work. Amber reached out to me a few months ago and brought up the idea of a collaboration. Amber makes jewelry and kept thinking the prints I make of plants would be awesome to use in a process called “etching”. As someone who loves collaborating with other women I said yes. Obviously.

Amber & Carmen

Etching on metal uses chemical erosion to selectively remove metal. In this case it’s what makes the fern image “pop up” on the brass. I will share some of our process with you in this blog.

It all started a few years back when I lived in Jacksonville and realized this fern existed
I’ve been sort of obsessed with them ever since. They can lose 75-95% of their water content and the COME BACK TO LIFE (although technically they weren’t dead they just look like it)

For me, this fern parallels life and the outlook I want to have when I go through my own struggles. I might feel like I have lost spirit and may feel sad or lonely-but if someone comes along with a kind word or shows me some love in some way, I “resurrect”. In that same way, I want to be able to do this for people with my own words. That’s why THIS had to be the first fern we turned into earrings. My hope is when we wear them we are reminded of our own power to heal or harm.

When we dicsussed what species we’d use first I knew it had to be the Resurrection fern!

Resurrection ferns Pleopeltis polypodioides can withstand drought (thus their name). Most plants will die after losing just 10-15% of their water content but these guys can lose anywhere from 75-95% (and still live up to ONE HUNDRED YEARS) and will “come back to life” after a rain. You’ve probably noticed big clumps of green on very tall trees on a walk or even on the forest floor attached to decaying wood. This fern population is stable (luckily) and even though it grows on other structures it does not steal from its host.

Super cool fact about this fern…it was taken aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (1997-I actually saw the launch!) to watch its resurrection in space. It was the first fern to ever go to space! Here’s a link to a great article SPACEFERN I mean, if this isn’t the coolest plant to wear on your ears I don’t know what is. Dontcha just love science!

Making prints using the UV light of the sun
Here’s what my print looked like.
There are 3 species of ferns here. Can you find the Resurrection Ferns?
The image is scanned and inverted in Photoshop

Once my part was complete I sent the images to Amber. Here is a slideshow of some of Amber’s process and the images being transferred to sheets of brass. They are then cut out with a really sharp tiny blade and dipped in acid (don’t worry, it didn’t hurt).

…anddddd that’s when she shipped them to me! Also, what are the chances this photo of Amber & I would come up as a memory on the same day but 7 years earlier…

Reflections and memories
Forever sealed in time!
Assembling the earrings
I get to package them 🙂
From start to finish!

What did you think about seeing this process?! Putting all the photos into this blog helps me truly appreciate the all work that went into this process.

I hope you enjoyed reading it! I am going to launch the earrings tomorrow (12/14) at 1:11 (because why not) on my Instagram. Check my stories! They will be left up for 24 hours and what I don’t sell will be listed on my website. Each pair will be $40 (to be split between both artists) and shipping is $3.00.

Since we just started and are learning the process, we will not be taking special orders. All earring backs are hypoallergenic.

~ Carmen