Selection from the Collection: Asparagus Crown Bracelet

Lindly Haunani, Asparagus Crown Bracelet, 2006

I have loved asparagus as long as I can remember. As a teenager I avidly read Euell Gibbon’s book “Stalking the Wild Asparagus” and have been hopefully looking closely at road side ditches ever since. Before the advent of year round/world wide asparagus in our local grocery store produce sections, asparagus and daffodils were certain harbingers of spring. I may have never perfected Hollandaise sauce a la Julia Childs’ “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One” if not for steamed asparagus.

In art school my fascination for the curvilinear forms and overlapping shapes of asparagus stalks provided inspiration for many of my drawings, etchings and silk screen prints. Each spring I indulged in at least fifteen pounds of this “seasonal” vegetable.  The most impressive gift I received from a suitor was not a dozen roses, rather a case of premium asparagus bunches wrapped with purple silk ribbons. One of the most unusual items I cast in silver from lost wax was an asparagus tip.

I was enchanted by the first polymer clay asparagus bunch I spotted in a doll house miniature store in 1989.Two of my most treasured items in my extensive polymer clay art collection are an asparagus spear that Victoria Hughes made in 1989 and a pair of earrings that Margaret Regan made in 1993.

Focused in my studio in 1992 by a longing for spring and a ten day snow and ice storm, I made my first pieces of asparagus jewelry from polymer clay. These first pieces were made from tinted transluscent clay and were rather large. In my usual manner I amassed hundreds of components before beginning the assembly of what was to become three necklaces and twenty five bracelets.

Over the years my asparagus jewelry continued to evolve. It became more diminutive, more opaque and began featuring tips made from slices of Skinner blend canes. The glass beads I used in between when string bracelets and necklaces became more outrageous. The colors morphed to include five different color ways- including hot pink, purple and blue-violet.

In 2006 Elise Winters encouraged me to make a statement piece using asparagus. My inspiration was Egyptian collars. The first prototypes of my bracelet were unsatisfactory as the cut ends of the stalks distracted from the flow of the piece. I decided to make the spears double headed and pierce them sideways. The segue way to a bracelet that resembled a crown roast was an easy one for me. I look forward to experimenting with more asparagus in the years to come.

Elise adds:

“Last year, this bracelet was a finalist for a 2008 Niche Award. This year, Lindly’s work won a 2009 Niche award in the jewelry category.”

A lifelong artist, Lindly was delighted when she discovered polymer clay in 1988. Admired for her gently empowering teaching style, Lindly has taught hundreds of polymer clay workshops during the past fifteen years. A founding member of the National Polymer Clay Guild and the co-editor of their newletter for three years, Lindly remains active in the polymer clay community.