Moose Spotlight: The Language of Stones and Jewelry-Making

Jewelry artist's creativity and imagination allow us to enjoy the beauty of their creations. The ability to create something out of their beautiful minds and be enjoyed, treasured, and cherished by many is a priceless feeling.

 

MEET THE JEWELRY ARTIST

 

Jewelry Artist Merrill Henson of @languageofstones on Instagram

 

@languageofstones on Instagram

 

This is Merrill Henson, a jewelry artist based in Portland, Oregon. She has been creating jewelry for 3.5 years now.

 

THE JOURNEY TO CREATING JEWELRY

 

What inspired Merrill to start making jewelry is it was actually a way to keep her hands busy and be able to channel her anxiety into something productive. She elaborated that she never expected it to become more than a hobby, but she said as many of her fellow metalsmiths know, the minute you learn how to solder, there’s nothing else you’d rather do.

 

Recalling her journey when she was just starting out, Merrill said it was a mess. Being entirely self-taught and relying heavily on YouTube and books for instruction, there were countless mistakes and ruined pieces. She also shared that tears were shed, things were thrown in frustration, and self doubt was always present; adding that it still is. However, Merrill is tenacious and she became addicted to those moments when things clicked into place.

 

Upon asking if there was a story behind her brand name or IG handle, Merrill started with saying that humans are story tellers. Elaborating that it’s what connects us to one another and what reminds us of our past.

 

"Jewelry often serves as a physical reminder of a special moment in the stories of our lives. Heirloom pieces passed from generation to generation contain a wealth of memories experienced by their wearers. We tell stories about our favorite rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. And there’s a certain language used in these retellings. This veneration for these objects goes even deeper when taking into consideration their stones. These small, lovely pieces of earth have experienced hundreds of thousands of years buried under Earths crust," she explained.

 

She often wonders what stories they would tell, if only they had the ability and the language to do so. Thus, “Language of Stones” spoke to Merrill.

 

ARTIST’S DESIGN STYLE

 

"I can’t remember my first “AHA!” moment or a specific design I was really pleased with in the beginning," Merrill said when we asked if she had that one big AHA! moment when she was just getting started. She said there’s been many smaller “AHA!” moments throughout her journey. Most recently, she has been pretty pleased with her Shadowbox split band rings, a botanical shadowbox sitting adjacent to a stone.

 

Here are some of Merrill's gorgeous creations!

 

Turquoise Ring by Merrill Henson of @languageofstone on Instagram

 

Handmade Ring by Merrill Henson of @languageofstone on Instagram

Genuine Handmade Jewelry by Merrill Henson of @languageofstone on Instagram
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Merrill doesn't really draw her designs. For her, it’s pointless because she describes it as chicken scratch. She has at least 4 different projects going at one time, and there’s a lot of 'tinkering' involved. Sometimes she’ll see a fully formed piece in her head and it turns out great, but she said that’s rare.
When we asked her what her design style is, she said that she has honestly no idea, emphasizing that she doesn't think she have one specific style; sharing that her aesthetic is always changing.
Here's another lovely piece by Merrill!
Genuine Turquoise Earrings by Merrill Henson of @languageofstones on Instagram
Genuine Turquoise Earrings by Merrill Henson of @languageofstones on Instagram
JEWELRY DESIGN TIPS, TRICKS, AND HANDY TECHNIQUES
What's one design tip you one to share with your fellow artists? 
" Comparison to other makers will only lead to even more self doubt and can be extremely discouraging. Also, practice. I used to hate sawing things out with my jewelers saw. I was horrible! With time, however, my skills improved and now it’s a form of meditation. Things melt. Saw blades break. Solder joins break. Don’t give up because the last 49 times you tried something you failed. There’s always the 50th attempt."
Any words of encouragement or tips to those who are starting out in the world of jewelry-making?
"You’re going to melt a lot of stuff. And you’re going to probably get a few burns. But it’s par for the course. Also, make sure your metal and solder are clean! It took me a while to actually heed that very small piece of advice in the beginning. It makes all the difference in the world."
Lastly, her message to the universe: 
Merill Henson Moose Blog Feature

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