A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a wonderful new Hilo science center called 'Imiloa about selling Stellanova Jewelry at their gift shop. They'd heard about my work from another local jewelry artist and friend, Raven of Made with Molecules, who already sells her amazing pieces at 'Imiloa. I was delighted to hear from them, and they placed an order right away for a number of my Hawaiian designs. I was even more excited when they told me they wanted to commission a number of custom pieces featuring more endemic Hawaiian wildlife! I love doing custom pieces, and for the first time I'd been asked to do a whole series for a store.
Together we selected six species native to the slopes of Mauna Kea, a collection of unique wildlife that are all unique, irreplaceable components of Mauna Kea's diverse ecosystems. All of these species are culturally significant to Hawaiians in some way, and unfortunately, all of them are critically endangered.
Here's a little more info about each of these species:
nohoanu - a native geranium
liko lehua - the bright burgundy rosettes of new leaf growth on 'ohi'a trees, viewed as something like a flower by Hawaiians. This one was a bit unusual because I already have a design for the 'ohi'a tree itself, and the species info is the same.
palila - a finch-billed Hawaiian honeycreeper
mamane - a flowering tree in the pea family
'ahinahina (silversword) - crazy high-altitude native shrub with silvery hairs on the leaves!
na'u - a native gardenia
So right now I'm cranking out this new jewelry and working on the associated information cards with the hopes of getting them finished and delivered to 'Imiloa's gift shop within two weeks. I stopped by yesterday to show them my work in progress - they are really happy with the pieces they commissioned, and can't wait to get them into the store!
At long last, my biggest illustration/book project to date is getting printed and will be released in May of this year by Heyday Books in Berkeley. The book is published through the Yosemite Conservancy, and will be available at all the Yosemite National Park shops and visitor centers as well as at fine bookstores all over California... and beyond?
The Nature Notebook is a little unusual - I haven't seen anything quite like it before. It is meant to be a blank book/sketchbook, and has a lay-flat binding, nice paper, and plenty of blank and partially blank pages to fill with drawings or writing. Most "blank" books like this might have some spot illustrations or quotes decorating the margins, at most, but this one contains a number of more involved spots, pages, and full spreads of my illustrations of Sierra Nevada wildlife. For this project I did drawings in all stages of finish, from very loose and sketchy to fully colored and realized, in the hopes that the reader will be inspired by example to do their own interpretations of what they see in the world around them.
Here's some sample artwork from the book:
excerpt from page of drawings of "little things"
excerpt from Steller's jay sketch page
detail of stream life spread
excerpt from spread of leaping deer
I will definitely post when the book comes out!