Atlanta’s Olmsted Linear Park Inspires Jewelry that Gives Back to the Land
A desire to donate funds to the green spaces that informed my young life has inspired a new jewelry collection, the OLPA Series. Thirty percent of each jewelry sale in this collection will be donated to OLPA, the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance. Jewelry can be ordered here or on the OLPA website.
Fredrick Law Olmsted, America’s premier landscape architect established himself during the nineteenth century, best known for Central Park in NYC, the Biltmore House grounds in Asheville, NC as well as the Emerald Necklace along Boston’s harbor. In 1890 he was invited to Atlanta to create six city parks along Ponce de Leon Avenue, the backbone of the Druid Hills neighborhood.
To develop this series, I spent time in the parks absorbing the benefits of photosynthesis, birdsong and beauty. Underneath the park’s iconic trees I searched for symbols that might become beacons of gratitude for the trees that give freely to us. The OLPA pieces feature precious pearls set into cast sterling acorns, hickory nutshells and delicate twigs. As an artist working in the medium of gems and metal, I believe jewelry resonates with the wearer through unseen yet subtle vibrations. Mineral veins cut through our earth just as rivers of iron-rich blood pump through our bodies. Our teeth and bones are made from calcium crystalline structures similar to pearls, both formed in organic fluid. In a more beautiful and condensed manner, gemstones are made of the same mineral compounds that we are.
In the 21st century, a serpentine flow of cars along Ponce de Leon Ave. is cushioned by Olmsted’s engineering genius with a lush river of thin, elliptical green meadows and now old deciduous trees and stone edifices. In the mid ‘90s, “Stop the Road” protestors created “Tent City”, a temporary protest site erected along Ponce which succeeded in stopping the destruction of Olmsted’s parks with a highway to Stone Mountain.
As a result, OLPA was formed and enjoys an alliance managed between the City of Atlanta, DeKalb County, Fernbank, Inc., the Fernbank Natural History Museum, the Fernbank Science Center, and the Druid Hills Neighborhood Association; merging into one indivisible, mystical landscape. This collection provides an opportunity to give back to the gentle hillsides, trees and streams, public land that makes Atlanta lovely and full of grace.