Ya win some, ya lose some…

A couple of weeks ago I tried some new experiments in the jewelry kitchen with some items that I hadn’t  tried before, and I wanted to share about that experience with all of you!

I started with a banana flower, which is the flower that grows on the banana tree. (shown below)  I had never seen a banana flower before, but I stumbled upon it in a Vietnamese grocery store in South Philly.  Apparently, you can make a nice curry with it.  It sounded and looked amazingly exotic!  I sliced the flower in cross sections, and started to dehydrate it.  But as it dried out……it turned gray and fell apart : (  Unfortunately, the banana flower didn’t yield anything that looked like jewelry…not even close!

Next, I tried butternut squash.  I just love butternut squash!  My mom has a recipe for butternut squash-pear soup that is out of this world!  And I’ve always loved the color of the inside of the squash…very warm and bright but also earthy and soothing to the eye.  I think it would make a great color for painting a kitchen.

The squash dried out well and I made some nice pendants and rings out of it.  I like the results.  Below is a photo of one of the resulting squash  gems.  During the drying process, the color of the squash turned just a bit more soft and pastel-like. This item listed here in my Etsy shop.

Experiment #3 was with with red hot chili peppers!  I bought them fresh from Iovine’s at Reading Terminal Market, and dried them whole myself.  When they came out of the dehydrator, they were gorgeous; sultry red and shaped perfectly!   The thought of these zesty things dangling from people’s ears had me so excited and energized!  But applying the resin turned out to be a challenge…  I tried again and again but the results were messy and the resin was not adhering well due to the shape and texture of the chili pepper.  I didn’t want to give up on these but after a few days of trying different things, I called it quits.  I may give chili peppers another shot using a different technique someday…that’s how bad I want chili pepper earrings, like really….I have dreams about them!

And finally, I tried a golden beet.  Golden beets are lighter in color on the outside than a red beets, and when you slice them open, they are bright yellow on the inside!  I made a set of rings and pendants out of these in no time!  I think this ring turned out great!  It reminds me of a fresh ray of sunshine.  I like how the beet’s texture has been captured as well.

Below is a golden beet pendant that I allowed to oxidize before adding the resin.  The oxidization allowed the beet to turn from a bright yellow into a more earthy tone which shows the texture better.  Which one do you like more?

So that’s my update!  More to come next week.  I’ve got some goodies in the dehydrator right now so stay tuned!



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