|ROOTED in STONE
By Cyndi Sharp and Mary Dillon
ROOTED in STONE artist, Cyndi Sharp, grew up in upstate New York. Her favorite family vacation was boating in the Adirondack State Park, where she became intrigued by the intricate patterns of stones. Fascinated with the designs she found in nature, she began to collect all kinds of interesting stones and fossils as a child. After moving out west to Utah as an adult, she expanded her collecting to crystals and petrified wood.
Cyndi was enchanted with the creative forms that rustic furniture builders in the Adirondacks were able to make out of nature's trees, branches, and roots. In 1993 she turned her fascination into building rustic furniture, such as beds, chairs, porch railings, and tables, for her Adirondack-styled home. She studied rustic woodworking under New York State craftsmen and artists Tom Phillips and world-renowned designer Dan Mack.
After joining an art group of painters a few years ago, and with the encouragement of her fellow artists, Cyndi started to use interesting roots, wood, and gemstones in the design and construction of rustic creations on a smaller scale to be worn as jewelry.
The idea of working with the wood roots came to Cyndi while she was landscaping her wooded Park City, Deer Valley, Utah yard with wildflowers and digging out overgrown and dominating Snowberry and Serviceberry bushes, which proliferate throughout the forests in Park City, Deer Valley, Utah. Snowberry and Serviceberry are a renewable resource for the jewelry making, since new bushes are continually being sprouted from underground and above ground runners. While digging out the bushes, she discovered that the roots were very interesting. She saved the larger roots for her rustic furniture projects, but began to put the smaller ones to use in the jewelry-making.
The jewelry-making process is quite time consuming, taking over TWO YEARS to complete! First the roots are dug up, the smaller branches are cut off, the dirt is washed off, and then they are stacked to dry outside in the dry western climate for two years. This allows the bark to fall away, leaving the hard root wood begging to be worked with. The wood is thoroughly cleaned and sanded, and stones are chosen to complement the wood. Found hardwood, driftwood, and other wood knots become creative objects as well. The wood is either left with a natural colored finish or highlighted in varying wood tone stains to complement the stones. The wood receives three to five coats of a protective water-based or polyurethane finish, with sanding between coats. The gemstones, beads, and chains are all connected together to form the interesting one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry ready for you to wear. Please enjoy!