Yes, I realize that my shop boasts inspirations from architectural landmarks across the globe, and for most of my jewelry collection this is true. However, for the Clochán necklace, this is a bit of a stretch to say the least. The inspiration, Giant's Causeway, has been declared a Northern Ireland national nature reserve, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and is one of seven natural wonders of the United Kingdom (thanks Wikipedia!).
To be fair, I started designing this jewelry piece when the whole notion of starting a business was just a hazy idea tucked back somewhere in my conscience. Once I started to develop the business model and branding for Off on a Tangent, I had already taken this piece pretty far down the road. There was no turning back. I had fallen in love with the design, and based on all the popularity for this necklace I'd say everyone else has as well!
Similar to the Voûte piece, the beginnings of the piece took root during a metal etching and enameling class at The Art League here in DC. I'm going to make an assumption and say most people have probably never tried their hand at etching and enameling. Let's just say not every piece is a success. I'm planning on writing a blog post about metal etching and enameling, strictly from an amateur's perspective. Maybe one day I'll get back to creating some pieces to sell, but I need so much more practice! As you can see in the photo, I have a lot of cracked, failed attempts that i just kind of abandoned after my class ended.
Tom and I visited Giant's Causeway in 2014, after spending a couple weeks making our best attempts at driving along the Wild Atlantic Way coastal drive. I could go on and on about all of the beautiful places in Ireland, but in hopes to stay on topic I'll just direct you to a few blog posts Tom wrote during our trip here, here, and here. Side note: we could never make it as professional travel bloggers - after long days of sightseeing, the last thing I could bring myself to do was spend time writing about what we had just done. We both have new found respect for bloggers!
The Causeway was discovered off the Antrim Coast in 1693, and though it is funny to think back on now, there was actually speculation of a Giant causing the unique rock formations we see today. But as we now know today, this was indeed not the truth. The formations were actually caused by volcanic action that took place sixty million years ago. When the lava cooled, it did so at varying rates, thus causing the hexagonal columns.
These hexagonal columns were the inspiration for this necklace. Even more specifically, from this amazing spot we came upon while climbing all over these rocks. The rocks all have their own unique shape, and have become stepping stones at varying heights that make for quite a "craic" climbing up and across them. Every so often you will find these little pockets where the water gets trapped within the tightly fit rocks, and is filled with plants and seashells . The solid metal hexagon in the necklace design represents this little fascinating micro habitat that is created within the rocks.
See the resemblance!?!
On a related note, great architecture can be found anywhere, even where the focus is on such a spectacular and unique array of natural beauty. The challenge that Heneghan Peng Architects faced in creating the Giant's Causeway Visitor's Center was to make it fit in with the natural surroundings of the site. The result was one of the most beautiful and well designed visitor's centers I have ever seen. On two sides, the building takes almost direct inspiration from the basalt columns that protrude from the ground. The other 2 sides disappear into the surrounding green landscape, making it invisible from the coastal walk.
This necklace makes a perfect gift (or treat yourself gift!) for those that love Ireland, nature, geology, hexagons, statement jewelry, or that travel bug in your life!