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#TBT: At Both Ends of the Rain

Two Stone Green Turquoise Triangle Band Cuff Bracelet Resized

It snowed this morning.

Not for long, and not much gathered upon the surface of the ground, but what fell from the sky was unquestionably snow. May 18th, past the half-way point of the last full month of spring, and winter returns.

This is not, as it happens, the latest that we have seen snow here. For that, we would need to jump ahead nearly a full month, to June 10th. But it’s a sobering reminder of how extreme and unsettled our weather patterns are here, especially in this season — patterns made all the more unstable by the effects of anthropogenic climate change.

Now, an hour later, the sun spills over the now lushly green landscape, spangling it with diamonds — or, more accurately, with a substance more precious yet: millions of drops of water. Our small world here is ashimmer with riches.

And it reminds me of one of Wings’s simplest works, yet one of his most graceful, spare and beautiful and glowing with the same feel of abundance so tangibly present outside the window this morning.

Over the course of his career as an artist, Wings has created countless cuffs of solid sterling silver triangle wire; this one dates back some seven to nine years. They are extraordinarily simple in their basic design, wrought of heavy silver that began as ingot, melted and poured into triangle-shaped molds, then cooled and cut into lengths for sale to silversmiths in its current form. It’s an unusually striking form, too: Sizes range from tiny, delicate strands to exceptionally heavy, substantial gauges. This one was a middling gauge, heavy enough to impart a sense of substance and solidity to the wearer; not so heavy as to weight one’s wrist unnecessarily. The triangle’s apex sits at the top of the strand; viewed from the end, it manifests in a distinctly pyramidal shape.

Frequently, Wings will stamp the upper angles of the wire before bending it into a cuff, providing simple symbolic adornment to the surface of the band; he also often stamps the base angle, thus adding a few spare accents to what will become the inner band. But in this instance, he elected to leave it untouched, save for a mirror-like polish applied at the end of the process.

After cutting the wire to the proper length, he hammered the top side of either end by hand, flattening out each surface into a lightly sculpted oval. Atop each oval, he fashioned a round sawtoothed bezel.

Then he set the stones.

When Wings created this cuff, he created a whole small series — a collection in miniature of simple triangle-wire cuffs, each set with different stones, including, if memory serves, one with lapis, one with onyx . . . and this one, with green turquoise. These were unusual stones, a matched pair clearly from the same mine, their matrix pitted and surfaces textured. They were, fairly obviously, from one of the Nevada mines; Royston, in particular, is known for producing green turquoise. But these were different, and I have always thought that they came from Nevada’s Stone Mountain mine. It produces some blues, and a great deal of darker green, much of both aswirl with rich brown matrix similar to that often found among Royston specimens. But Stone Mountain is also known for a particular form of green turquoise, a light spring or grass green shot through with yellow matrix, the colors of the season itself. The yellow, of course, is not often bright yellow; more often it ranges from a shade or two off white to a pale shade that resembles the liquid color of spring sunlight. But it is distinctive, and these matched cabochons were exactly those shades.

The cuff had a name, of course, but one now lost to the mists of memory and time. So, too, is the identity of the person who now holds it. But I distinctly remember that its own identity was bound up with the spirits of spring and summer, of bright green growth limned in golden yellow light, bookending a cascade of silvery rain.

It felt much like spring as new year: an almost perfect hoop that ended nearly where it had begun, and would begin again. It was the embodiment of renewal, and a reminder that life exists at both ends of the rain.

~ Aji







All content, including photos and text, are copyright Wings and Aji, 2017; all rights reserved. Nothing herein may used or reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the owners.

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