Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Change of Hearts

Heart, the Symbol:
The heart has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, and in the past also, intellectual core of a human being. As the heart was once widely believed to be the seat of the human mind, the word heart continues to be used poetically to refer to the soul, and stylized depictions of hearts are used as prevalent symbols representing love.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Perhaps if I had known that definition long ago, this blog entry wouldn’t be written, perhaps not.  The thing is, I have never been much of a girly girl.  You won’t find me wearing pink, or lace or floral prints.  It’s just not me.  Never has been.  You also wouldn’t find me adorning myself in hearts.
If I am being honest, there was a demand for hearts in my jewelry, and I so I started making them.  I love the hearts I made, and I think they were my style, though I still would not have worn them.  Again, that’s just me.  I had this pre-conceived idea that they were for silly girls who lived in a romance novel.  Well, silly me.  As I started making hearts, and selling hearts, I began to see that they had a much deeper meaning then just “love” to the people who were buying them.  I wasn’t selling them to silly girls, I was selling them to strong women, compassionate women, women who came through some tough times and were relearning to love themselves.  I began to see that hearts meant so much more than just the “giggly pink love” of a valentine.
It helped that my first hearts were for a fundraiser after the Haiti earthquake.  Selling hearts to raise money for those who our hearts were going out to, really put some meaning into them.  It was the first piece of the puzzle. 

So I began to design more and more hearts, not because I felt I had to, but because suddenly, I was drawn to them as well.  I began to make hearts with wings and turquoise- with meaning behind them….”protect my heart and give it wings”, and copper and silver hearts- “mended”, repaired and stronger than ever.  I found myself designing the deeper emotions and symbols of the heart.  My hearts now represent strength, friendship, loyalty, rebirth, truth, love, freedom…..and on and on.

So, plan to see more hearts from me.  Now that I have a studio, I am trying my hand at some production style creating.  I plan to make lots of components, so when it comes time to make the finished pieces, I can choose from what was already made, ILO making one necklace at a time.  I may even sell some components…not sure. 

For a little more history on hearts,
 “The original form of the heart symbol is derived from plants. The ivy leaf was used as mere decoration in the old days of oriental cultures, where it showed up on amphorae and other painted ceramics since 3000 B.C. Adopted by the Greeks and later by the Etruscans and Romans, it entered European culture.
On Greek vases it can be found as stylized vine tendrils, often connected with the god of vine, Dionysus, who represented the passionate and sensual aspects of human life. So it carried mixed connotations already in its early stages when it appeared in the fourth century A.D. as a sign for a brothel in Ephesus.
The noble side of its meaning developed when this ivy leaf was used in the decoration of tombs. As the ivy is a very long-living and enduring plant, it served as a perfect representation of love and remembrance that goes beyond the grave. It’s also argued that the ivies growing close on something was seen as loving embracement and fidelity.
Therefore the ivy leaf appeared on Greek and Roman gravestones and on early Christian graves in catacombs as symbol of eternal love.
The green leaf had already undergone a long journey and absorbed these meanings when the shift to today’s red playing card heart happened.
The Middle Ages’ courtly love and its literature is chiefly responsible for this. Inspired by antique illustration, the monastic illustrators gave the green leaf a new color—red. On pictures of couples a Tree of Life with heart-shaped leaves began to appear in the color of blood and love, giving it a more physical connotation. This paved way to finally take the leaf as symbol for the heart.
Yet, the most interesting thing is, that this transformation of the lovely leaf into the symbol for the human organ itself was supported by a good lack of anatomical knowledge.”
By Rosemarie Fruehauf
I really liked the fact the ivy plant- strong, with tendrils connecting them, just like our emotions and ties and communities and families connect us, was the beginning of the heart symbol.  Very, very cool.


  1. Loved the story and love the jewelry!!

  2. Love your work - and the history of the heart design. Very interesting :)

  3. those pieces are awesome staci! love the hearts with wings.. wow!

  4. Thanks guys. Its been a progression for sure. But now I am in love with hearts. Lisa- the heart and wings are my favorite too. I wore mine for 6 months straight after making it:)