My Experience with Clare’s Growing Jewellery
By Alicia Lane
I have had a great time trialling the Growing Jewellery piece. After I received mine I watered it, at first cautiously with the pipette but found that a generous dunking was what was needed to thoroughly wet the package and help germination along. At the time it was raining a lot so it spent a few nights and days outside in a miniature garden soaking up the natural life forces. I wore it a lot too, most days from when I got it. At first a tea coloured stain appeared on the cotton as the organic materials leached tannins from the sphagnum moss, and after a week (by the end of which I thought maybe I hadn’t been successful at keeping the sprouts alive) the first little shoots emerged as pink points spearheading their way through. As I wore it I had to resist the temptation to gently squeeze it to see if it needed watering for fear of breaking the shoots. Sometimes I had a vague feeling of dampness around my chest as I felt the coolness of the water there and the effect of my body heat evaporating it away.
After their first appearance in their pinkish red sheaths the bright green sprouts rapidly gained height and stood out horizontally from the piece as I wore it. After about a week of wearing it everyday it started to grow upwards and to one side – I think it was leaning towards a window that was behind me as I worked everyday. I had great reactions from people that I saw as I went about my daily business. People often mistook the vivid green of the grass shoots for a synthetic material and were amazed that it was in fact a living piece. It was definitely a good talking point that led on to discussions about sustainability, human relationships with nature and interactive jewellery and art. To quote Gary the pal guy at Southbank Markets ‘Now I’ve seen everything!’ Other people asked how much they would be to buy as they loved the idea and wanted to try it out for themselves.
I found the piece to be very wearable and as long as I remembered watering it easily withstood the rigours of everyday life such as walking in the sun, bike riding and spending hours of each day indoors away from natural light. One hot sunny day I had forgotten that I had put it out on the rainy night before and after a few hours of scorching in its silver case my little grass garden was terribly shrivelled. I gave it a trim and plenty of water and it recovered quite well after a few days and I got quite a bit more wear out of it. After a while it started to develop a bit of a slime as it composted back on itself and we decided to refresh it. By the end the roots were strarting to burst out too and looked great when the little door to the inside was opened. I probably got about three or four weeks wear out of that cycle but it would have lasted longer if it hadn’t been scorched. I am now about a week and a half into my second pod and it is thriving with luxuriant green growth as it sits on my windowsill in a sheltered spot with reflected sunlight.
It was a great experience to take care of these little plants and wear them like living jewels. The relationship between the piece and the wearer is greatly enhanced by the nurturing role that the wearer takes on and the attention that it attracts is a great conversation starter. Thanks Clare for letting me a part of this experiment!