"A Celebration of Life"
I consider it an honor to share with you this blog story, the third in a series titled Spirit of the Seasons. Today's post features a men's ring titled Ashkibag ("Spring Leaf"), which I designed and created by hand at my workbench some time ago.
I constructed the ring of massive sterling silver; a stylized, 18K gold tree leaf is partially "draped" over the free-form, hand-cut green turquoise and the pear-shaped red coral positioned at the bottom of the stone. The ring resembles the classic heavy cast rings made by the early Dine’ (Navajo) silversmiths.
The light of giishoomisinaan Giizis, our grandfather sun, gives new life to the tree leaves, in Ode-imini Giizis, or Heart Berry Moon (the month of June). Giizis travels his own path, and when he gives and withdraws his light, the Standing Peoples of the plant world (the flowers, trees, grasses, and fruits) respond abundantly.
The green color of the turquoise stone stands for Omizakamigokwe (Mother Earth) and the gold leaf spanning the stone is for Ashkibag, or rejuvenation of the leaves caused by the warmth of Grandfather Sun and the nourishment of the earth. The red coral placed underneath the gold leaf symbolizes a seed from which the plant sprouts.
The flowers that I stamped on the sides of the ring shank curvature symbolize the prairie flowers that under the supremacy of Niibin (summer) enchant the grasslands of Turtle Island in a truly splendid blaze of colors, each flower endowed with a unique spirit of life, growth, healing, and beauty. The twisted wire around the stone setting, in conclusion, represents rhythm and continuity of life and the endless cycle of the seasons.
The design of the ring, in short, celebrates the growing seasons, and with it, life itself!
So the story goes...
> See part 4 in the Spirit of the Seasons series
About the author and his sources of inspiration:
As an American artist and jewelry designer currently living in the Netherlands. I like to draw on the oral and pictorial traditions of my Ojibwe Anishinaabe ancestors from the American Great Lakes area. For this I call on my manidoo-minjimandamowin, or "Spirit Memory"; which means I try to remember the knowledge and the lessons of my ancestors. The MAZINAAJIMOWINAN or ‘‘pictorial spirit writings’’ - which are rich with symbolism and have been painted throughout history on rocks and etched on other sacred items such as copper and slate, birch bark and animal hide - were a form of spiritual as well as educational communication that gave structure and meaning to the cosmos. Many of these sacred pictographs or petroforms – some of which are many, many generations old - hide in sacred locations where the manidoog (spirits) reside, particularly in those mystic places near the coastline where the sky, the earth, the water, the underground and the underwater meet.