About My Birch Bark Jewelry (formerly known as Birch Bark Maine)

I am inspired by the myriad textures and forms I encounter on my woodland wanders. I delight in the rippling patterns of light filtering through the trees, transforming everything from one moment to the next. I look intently at things up close, perhaps a pleasure that arose upon developing myopia at the age of 8. For me, the small details of seeing are a visual feast: the colors of stone and lichen in the mist... the shapes of next year's buds... the contours of ice formed as it begins to melt, then freezes anew. Some years ago, my attention turned to the surfaces of tree trunks: the muscular ropey-ness of an ancient white pine, the ridges and furrows of red oak, and of course, the bright beauty of birch, with its delicate tracery of white, gray, black, and ochre.

Then it was no longer enough just to look – I began collecting fragments of bark that I found on the ground, in much the same way that we fill our pockets with precious shells and pebbles at the beach. Thus began a long series of experiments in my studio to create lasting jewelry that celebrates the elegant and ephemeral birch tree. These days, I seek out fallen birch and harvest only the choicest bits of bark, leaving most of it behind to feed the soil and its tiny critters; and leaving the live birches to greet the next wandering soul.

Patricia Flynn

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