Written by: Jenny
I grew up in New Zealand along the coastlines of some of the wildest, most stunning landscape on earth. When I first started designing my fossilized ivory jewelry collection in 1987, I drew heavily on the impressions of nature from my childhood. These imprints helped inspire the designs and shape the jewelry line into what it is today.
I am still inspired by the beauty of nature, as well as the wildlife around me. I plan an extended stay in New Zealand every year and in Bali twice a year, where our hand carved fossilized ivory jewelry is made by hand by some of the most talented smiths available. Bali is rife with wildlife that helps me dream up new designs and never fails to keep me entertained.
There is always something scampering up the walls or disappearing behind a painting on this idyllic Indonesian island. Little cecak lizards (named for the sound they make) dot the walls and are very valued for keeping the insect population in check.
The larger geckos (three of them live in my house, which is apparently one gecko too many for peaceful relations) disappear with the pounding of gecko feet. They poke their heads out from behind the beam in the ceiling where they live, watching my every move and looking for dinner.
But by far my favorite animal (and roommate) is the very large 4 ½ foot monitor lizard, called an alu, who lives upstairs in my roof. He controls the rat and snake populations, and so earns his keep. The ceiling is woven bamboo and we sometimes hear the alu walking around up there. Occasionally there will be a crash of chairs as we leap out of the way when alu decides to pee. His pungent urine tends to splash down through the gaps in the bamboo.
My house in Bali is surrounded by rice fields. After the rice is harvested, flocks of elegant egrets come to eat the bugs in the newly flooded fields. They are closely followed by the comedians of the avian world, ducks, whose splashing and quacking sounds like a raucous pond party that always makes me smile.
The path from my house winds past the rice fields and up through a garden area. I never go out after dark without a flashlight because of the wildlife on the path. Sometimes I glimpse a black snake (not poisonous), and very rarely a green one (definitely poisonous). And every night the path is dotted with frogs and toads, which is where the flashlight comes in handy.
I am blessed to live among so much beauty, and rarely need to look further than my own back yard to be re-inspired by the natural world. What inspires you?