The Scott Arboretum, located at Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College, offers year round information on landscaping and horticulture.
The assortment of flowering cherries, tree peonies, and roses not only provide lovely scenery for the campus grounds, but the flora also offers "living examples" to visiting homeowners searching for garden and landscaping ideas.
Pennsylvania is also the hometown of featured jewelry designer James Meyer.
Standing before a large easel, Meyer felt a wave of pride as he looked over a portrait he created with images of trees, a mountain, animals, and blue heavens.
He was five years old at the time; his earliest memory of nature's hold on him, as well as his first form of artistic expression. "The teacher was, as I recall, also quite taken with it, and I suppose that's where it all began," he recalls. It would be another 25 years, however, before he embraced a calling to design and create jewelry.
Choosing to forego his parents' recommendation to pursue a law career, Meyer attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied drawing and sculpture. Receiving the Fulbright Scholarship allowed him to study art at Athens Polytechneion in Italy.
He immediately fell in love with the culture. "It has become a habit, you might say, for me and my wife Anne. We became very fond of the Mediterranean lifestyle," he acknowledges, "Italian cultural artifacts, from the dawn of history to the present, is a virtually inexhaustible source of delight and discovery for me."
Four years later, after returning to Pennsylvania, Meyer taught art at Lycoming College. Restless for a creative outlet he left Lycoming to embark on a career as an artist and sculptor.
Jewelry making remained an unrealized outlet, that is until he "forged some jewelry out of a bronze welding rod for my wife and friends as Christmas presents," he recalls. "One of my friends suggested I could make jewelry for a living," and James Meyer Jewelry was born.
Meyer loves the aspect of partaking in a centuries-old, universal medium. "The remarkable aspect about the art of jewelry is the simplicity of it all, but by "simple" I don't mean easy," he stresses.
"One works with one's whole body, the hands, and eyes, to bring about a finished piece. The noble metals--gold and silver--are incorruptible and can be soldered, engraved, cut, and hammered in a continuous process resulting in beautiful items that can provide a source of vitality and power for the wearer in an impermanent and ever-changing world."
Meyer's reverence and love for Italian art and architecture brings an inner radiance to his one-of-a-kind designer jewelry. The vine and floral motifs of many of his dress style rings add an enchanted, mystical quality, while the gemstones captivate with their rich, hypnotic colors.
His beautifully distinctive creations are frequently custom made. "I take the client's concept and make sketches implementing my interpretation of the design.
Ultimately, the final piece is a marriage of my client's and my own visions." The jewelry has a timeless beauty with its unusual yet intriguing blend of vintage and contemporary aesthetics.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Vine/Leaf Ring with Cabochon Amethyst
Photo 2 (bottom right): South Sea White-Pink Pearl Necklace with 18-Karat Gold Chain