Today we observe the assortment of beautiful flora located in the Palm House Botanic Gardens in Belfast, Ireland.
At 181 years old, the botanic garden is a true monument with scatterings of fuchsia, begonia, and geranium inside the "cool wing" of the cast-iron glasshouse knowna as the Palm House.
Ireland is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Trace Palmer.
When I look at Palmer's ethereal, blown glass jewelry it is amazing knowing she has post-graduate degrees in computers, in music, and a certificate in audio engineering.
Drawn to creative energy, during her early 20s she worked for a small, London-based record label handling press promotion and the tour schedule for a Goth band.
Several years later, she relocated to Los Angeles, California after accepting a position with another small record label. In time, the grind of long hours and indifferent industry movers and shakers took a toll on the label, and Palmer.
"I was burnt out and needed a break from the city and the hectic music business," she admits. The label eventually folded, but Palmer still wanted "a profession that could inspire me creatively and give me independence."
Palmer's artist brother, Gary, lived an enviable lifestyle: he was his own boss, he chose his hours, and he made time to travel. To her his life merited emulation. She moved from Los Angeles to a stress-free, wooded area in Oregon. The natural environment stimulated her creativity and she sold homemade soaps and candles to the local farmers market.
During one of her excursions to the famers market, she was introduced to glass blowers. "I found the medium captivating and I loved to watch them create. I tried my hand at glass blowing and it felt so natural."
Looking to her brother for inspiration and emotional support, Palmer traveled with him for several months through Africa. Feeling rested and clearheaded she decided to move back to Los Angeles and established her company, KarmaKulture, where she creates exquisite, hand sculpted blown glass jewelry.
She uses highly durable glass called PYREX® in rod form and melts clear, individual rods with a torch creating shape through gravity's pull. Colors like shimmery whites, liquid blues, and rich reds are added by melting toxin-free minerals such as silver, gold, cobalt, and copper on the back area of the glass.
The process brings forth a lovely, floating apparition-type design, and a background color is layered on the glass as a final, spectacular touch. The pieces are allowed to cool for 24 hours, a step that further enhances the strength of the glass. Palmer also implements silver and leather chords to suspend earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
Palmer shapes the glass through instinct, allowing the organic quality of the process to take over. She particularly loves to create custom jewelry designs by listening to her clients and taking notes of their nuances and idiosyncrasies. "I love that connection with a person. I love to make a piece especially for someone to fit their character," she enthuses.
Although she relishes building her company, she is ready to enlist the aid of others in both creative and business aspects. "I have done the hard groundwork; I have made the appropriate sacrifices--very little social life and no romantic partner until recently. I would like to train someone to assist me with jewelry making and someone to help with marketing and accounting."
Palmer's business and marketing skills have definitely served her. Her mystical jewelry has been featured in such publications as Marie Claire, Lucky, Teen Magazine, and Elle.
Her gorgeous, hand formed trinkets have been worn by actor Sharon Stone in the feature film Cold Creek Manor; singer Jill Scott in her Whatever music video; and the t.v. show Friends featured the beautiful glass sculptures as worn by Lisa Kudrow's character, Phoebe.
Both retailers and art galleries commission her jewelry, among them Fred Segal, Platino, and Jennifer Kaufman; and the Functional Art Gallery, and Pearce Gallery.
Photo 1 (top right): Triptych Necklace Suspended from Sterling Silver Circles
Photo 2 (bottom right): Goddess Necklace