Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bear Place or Mauch Chunk

This is what coal looks like in original form!

In a previous blog I mentioned I took a road trip to visit my son in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This gave me an excuse to also visit the nearby and town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. My blog describes how this is an example of small town USA at its best. Now, my blog will focus on how this trip influenced 3 pieces of jewelry that I created when I returned. First, we need a little more background on this town.

Jim Thorpe was founded as Mauch Chunk /ˌmɔːk ˈtʃʌŋk/, a name derived from the term Mawsch Unk(Bear Place) in the language of the native Munsee-Lenape Delaware peoples. It is possibly a reference to Bear Mountain, an extension of Mauch Chunk Ridge that resembled a sleeping bear.  The original profile of the ridge has been changed heavily by 220 years of mining activities and it is thought to have once resembled a sleeping bear.  Mining became the basis for economic survival here.  Right in the center of the town is a huge piece of carbon which was the bases of the town's mining success in the 1900's.

Ready for a Rafting Trip
There is still plenty to do in Jim Thorpe if you love nature. There is hiking, biking, river rafting and tubing adventures, camping etc. There are wonderful train rides available to take you through this scenic area too.

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad Trip

As a designer for ceramic artist Moriah Betterly, I arrived home to 3 of her ceramics that were inspired by Native American art.

Ceramics by Moriah Betterly

This recent trip helped inspired me to made to create 3 pieces of jewelry with her ceramics.  The first piece a feather became a necklace that I made as a tribute to the Indians of the area.

Feather Pendant by Bay Moon Design

The ceramic feather pendant is suspended from another handmade turquoise and black ceramic bead. I used a black aluminum chain and some turquoise agate beads to add additional color to the turquoise, red, black and white feather. The feather also has some black Irish waxed linen thread added to give it some additional texture. The long chain necklace is 24 inches around. The artisan feather pendant hangs 4 inches below.

The Bear Mountain is the inspiration for this big, bold, chunky, bear necklace made from the bear ceramic.  This turquoise bear necklace has a very handsome and strong looking ceramic bear focal by ceramic artist Moriah Betterly. I created a leather and chain necklace using turquoise Irish waxed linen thread to add to the colors in the bear. I added a bronze leaf clasp to add to the woodsy theme of the animal totem necklace. 

Bear Paw Bracelet by Bay Moon Design
The last ceramic of a bear paw became a multi strand trending bracelet . One strand is brass chain, another is leather, and the last is beaded with jasper bear charms, yellow Czech beads and brass beads. I was able to find these hand carved Zuni fetish bear beads in a wonderful Etsy shop called CrazyCoolStuff.

Where have you gone this summer that has influenced your art?

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