Saturday, 1 September 2012

Challenge of Travel: ready for Tuvalu?

Welcome intrepid travellers! You have arrived at a dream like location. However, you may very well be the last generation of visitors, unfortunately. 

Your trusty travel agents Erin Prais-Hintz and Marcie Abney Carroll  have designed a blog hop to take you around the world to parts familiar and unknown.  I opted to choose the region of Oceania.  With the list of countries spread out before me I closed my eyes and pointed.  Tuvalu was my surprise destination!

Like planning for any trip I set about doing some research.  I had never heard of Tuvalu so I went straight to the globe that sits in my living room to find it.  Then I spent some time zooming in and out using google maps satellite view which is pretty incredible.  Tuvalu is one of the smallest island nations in the Pacific.  The google satellite view really gives you the idea of the lagoons and coral reefs that it features.

I was focused mainly on the images and created a Pinterest board here to keep track.  My favourite of the lot is not properly attributed so before I share it here I will have to sort that out.  My apologies, I thought I had that nailed down. You will also see reference to copra, or dried coconut meat, which is an important natural resource.

While searching, I found more and more the talk about Tuvalu was mostly doom.  Climate change, rising ocean waters, ocean acidification are threatening Tuvalu in real and immediate ways.  There is so much discussion on the islands’ homepage I couldn’t recall which one in particular was most informative (I scanned them all). 

So with ideas of amazing blue and green waters, I sat down with my polymer to see what would come out.  Coconut references where also bound to be part of the story.  Things in my studio always change course, usually several times, and this challenge was no exception.  Let me start to show you!


There’s a lot going on here. I’ve had those gorgeous kyanite sticks for a long time. I love them, but struggle with an appropriate design.  Based on the colours of Tuvalu I was seeing, I knew I wanted to incorporate them so I created polymer coconut type shells to really highlight them. The central one is flanked by two sea urchin spines that I’ve covered with polymer.  I wanted to convey the feeling of rising, surrounding, dangerous waters. These urchin spines are almost completely enveloped in polymer.  I hope the idea of a horizon with waves lapping towards you across the sand comes across... and if not than it's at least pretty.

Also in a shocking twist I made matching earrings!


I never seem to reach for designing earrings for the challenges I’ve participated in so far, so I’m quite happy with these simple and lightweight earrings.

Let's go back to the necklace though for a little more of the details.
details of Tuvalu

Since Kyanite sticks and sea urchin spines where in the mix, adding amazonite sticks and stick pearls wasn’t too much of a leap.  I originally had other plans for the rest of the necklace but as I started to clear my bead board of other projects (still working with my bead soup) I realized much of that wonderful soup would work here too.  You can also see some of the faux sea glass I won from Erin, just had to work that in! Then more peals, Swarovski pearls, and matte resin tied it all together.  The clasp is another pewter button from Mamacita Beadworks.  I’m really pleased with the colours I was able to dig out of my stash to show those one-minute-green, next-minute-blue waters.

Here is the backside, which really shows the coconut idea.  I actually used some coral to make that texture which I think makes it all the more fitting.


My plan was show you a bunch more that I created. You saw a glimpse here (turned sideways).  I also have to show you the rest of my amazing thrift store finds (hint: my earrings are sitting on a piece of it) but that will have to wait for another day since my little bundle of fever will be waking from a blissful nap any second.

Pack your bags and head on to your next stop.  I’m so glad you came to visit,  please feel free to “sign the guestbook” below and I’ll keep a light on for you.

Updating to add, where are my manners!? Thanks so much to Erin for dreaming up this challenge and letting us all play in her sandbox, it's always a wonderful time!

NameBlogRegion ChosenInspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart Faso
Niky Sayers
Therese Frankhttp://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.comAfricaKenya
Raychelle Heath
Joan Williamswww.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.comAfricaMauritania
Sherri Stokeyhttp://www.KnotJustMacrame.comAfricaSenegal
Regina Santerrehttp://reginaswritings.blogspot.comAfricaSeychelles
Raida Disbrowhttp://havanabeads.blogspot.comAfricaTanzania
Kristi Wodekhttp://livedinlife.blogspot.comAfricaZimbabwe
Sally Russickhttp://www.thestudiosublime.comAmericasBrazil
Melissa Trudingerhttp://beadrecipes.wordpress.comAmericasMexico
Tracy Stillmanhttp://www.tracystillmandesigns.comAmericasUSA
Sandra Wolberghttp://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.deAsiaIndia
Tanya Goodwinhttp://pixiloo.blogspot.comAsiaJapan
Susan Kennedyhttp://suebeads.blogspot.comAsiaJapan
Beth Emeryhttp://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.comAsiaJapan
Lisa Cone
Tanya Boden
Inge von Rooshttp://ingetraud.wordpress.comAsiaLaos
Erin Prais-Hintzhttp://treasures-found.blogspot.comAsiaNepal
Dee Elgiehttp://cherryobsidia.blogspot.comAsiaPhillipines
Carolyn Lawsonhttp://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.comAsiaSouth Korea
Lisa Stukelhttp://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.comAsiaSri Lanka
Elly Snarehttp://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.comAsiaThailand
Shelley Graham Turnerhttp://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.comEuropeAustria
Mallory Hoffman Herzegovina
Paige Maximhttp://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.comEuropeFrance
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sharyl McMillian-Nelsonhttp://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.comEuropeGreece
Evelyn Shelby
Holly Westfall
Rebecca Siervaaghttp://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.comEuropeIreland
Toltec Jewelshttp://toltecjewels.blogspot.comEuropeIreland
Lee Koopmanhttp://StregaJewellry.wordpress.comEuropeIreland
Laren Dee Bartonhttp://larendeedesigns.blogspot.comEuropeItaly
Cindy Wilsonhttp://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.comEuropeNorway
Kathleen Lange Klikhttp://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.comEuropePoland
Shaiha Williams
Jennifer Justman
Elsie Deliz-Fonsecahttp://ladelizchica.blogspot.comEuropeSpain
Lola Surwillohttp://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.comEuropeSweden
Kim Horahttp://www.kimmykats.comEuropeSwitzerland
Leanne Loftushttp://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.comEuropeThe Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemenhttp://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.comEuropeThe Netherlands
Marcie Carrollhttp://labellajoya.blogspot.comEuropeTurkey
Marlene Cupohttp://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.comOceaniaFederated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappellehttp://jewelsbyine.blogspot.comOceaniaFiji
Tammie Everly
Alice Petersonhttp://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.comOceaniaKiribati
Elisabeth Auldhttp://www.beadsforbusygals.comOceaniaNauru
Susan McClelland Zealand
D Lynne Bowlandhttp://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.comOceaniaNew Zealand
Denielle Hagermanhttp://somebeadsandotherthings.comOceaniaNew Zeland
Rebecca Andersonhttp://songbeads.blogspot.comOceaniaPapua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi
Kari Asburyhttp://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.comOceaniaSolomon Islands
Cece Cormier
Emma Toddhttp://www.apolymerpenchant.comOceaniaTuvalu
Debbie Pricehttp://greenshoot.blogspot.comOceaniaVanuatu


  1. WOW.... great job. That necklace is very cool.

  2. Completely LOVE your necklace those coconuts look fantastic really original and the kyanite sticks look fab!

  3. that necklace is to die for. i love the use of colors (my favorite palate) and those coconut shells---WOW. just wow

  4. Wow indeed! I love the way you interpret the world with your clay.

    I hope your little one is feeling better soon!

  5. Your color palette is heavenly. Simply perfect. I was surprised by the coconut - a literal piece of the island. ( which I hadnt heard of either...)

  6. Your little coconuts are just amazing. I love how you used the stick pearls and the kyanite sticks. I always have trouble with those, but you made using them look so effortless. The color palette is so gorgeous. I could go on and on. :) It's just a beautiful piece.

  7. So, I followed your links to learn about the island nation - 11,000 people at last count in 2010. From what I read, a very poor nation too, with little to no commerce (except fishing). I cannot remember which island, but there is a very small island in the Carribbean that lives with an active volcano that could erupt at any given moment and demolish everything in its sight - I do not know how people in these conditions can stand the uncertaintiy of their plight....Your necklace is phenomenal! The cocoanuts are so realistic and your color palette perfection!!! I hope your little one is better!

  8. Never seen something that spectacular of polymer!! What a great colorway, amazing coconuts and makes one want to fly to Tuvalu at once :-D

  9. The polymer clay is absolutely beautiful! great colors!

  10. That is beautiful. You have a very intresting, new way to combine stones and those spikes with polymer clay.

  11. Gorgeous necklace, love the coconuts especially! My sympathies on a sick little one, my toddler is also unwell and is making it hard to do anything with needing to be on me at all times!

  12. Amazing, exceptional design in every detail. A true piece of art elicits an emotional response, and your design definitely does that!

  13. Emma, first I have to express my admiration for you as one Mum to another: no matter whatever else complicates our daily lives, the moments we give to our children, and their needs, are the ones of greatest value, bar none!

    Congrats on producing another work that is appealing on many levels beyond its mere appearance, Emma. I love how you have married the beauty of this natural wonder, Tuvulu, and the danger it faces. You have that true inner vision, seeing not only form, colour, texture, but real spirit in these wonderful design elements, and allowing them to speak a lesson that needs teaching in an original voice.

    Out of the many discussion threads on the Tuvulu discussion site you linked to, one title really chilled me. "We Are All Tuvaluans" was a 2007 article detailing climate change and near-disaster particular to that country; but it is the motto we should all adopt, as well. As citizens of our planetary home, we need to start considering what is really at stake when one nation, no matter how tiny, is put in harm's way.

  14. Wow! I love what you came op with. Gorgeous ;)

  15. Love your faux coconut shells! Those Kyanite sticks are gorgeous... think I need to find me some! Although my husband says the floor will collapse if I bring one more bead into this house! Love the colours in your necklace but them they are very similatr to what I use in mine so what's not to love!

  16. Oh, wow! This is an amazing set! So lovely, unique and just amazing - I think you've perfectly called the tropical dangers up with this necklace and earrings. So gorgeous.

  17. Wow! That is a lovely piece!!! Sticks are becoming my favorite component.

  18. what an amazing design! As I looked at it and looked at it, absorbing all the details, I could almost feel my computer chair rocking on the ocean waves! I'm not kidding! Absolutely gorgeous!

  19. Oh such beautiful peaceful colors...of course Kyanite is a favorite of mine-- on sat we drove 90 min so I could get the last strand at a local bead store! Your talents amaze me--I have fiddled with clay but, never to your level. Beautiful!!

  20. Another place I have never heard of! From your inspired pieces I think it must be incredibly beautiful. And it is so sad that it is disappearing! Your necklace and earrings are absolutely beautiful, I love the coconuts and the rising water on the urchin spines! Amazing and so creative. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Never heard of Tuvalu, so thank you for the introduction. Looking at the map of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean, it seems pretty crowded out there! Your Tuvalu inspired jewelry is gorgeous, I can almost taste the coconut! Love what you have made, such creativity, great job!

  22. It is a shame that we are about to loose so many of the island countries. Thank you for introducing me to this delightful place. And your necklace is beyond gorgeous. What a perfect statement piece.

  23. The country I was assigned is experiencing the same threat as yours. It seem sad really, the thought of entire island chains disappearing under water.

    Your necklace is stunning. I love all the beads you used, and your polymer coconuts and the beautiful polymer-wrapped sea urchin spines.

  24. Coconuts are sooo cool LOL and they are a great food and medicine.Love and hugs Tanya

  25. So sorry to hear your daughter is sick. Hope she feels better soon! I love this. The way you seamlessly blended your polymer clay work with all these different textures. So sad that the changing climate is threatening this beautiful island nation. The way you chose to represent that with the covered spines is very clever. And the coconuts! Wow! I am truly amazed at those. Thank you for joining me on the journey around the world, Miss Emma! Enjoy the day. Erin

  26. From one PC'er to another - Absolutely fantastic depiction of what this nation is all about. Love the shading on the sea urchins, and your coconuts are right on!

  27. Oh my goodness, beautiful design and your coconut beads are amazing! Great job!

  28. Wow-the necklace you made to represent Tuvalu is absolutely gorgeous! Stunning! I love the coconut beads and the sea urchin spines that you created.

    So sad that this beautiful place is being threatened by rising sea levels. You necklace is a beautiful way to educate people on that matter.

  29. This is a jaw-dropping-beautiful necklace, Emma! I am speechless!!!


I'd love to hear what you think, thanks for taking the time to join in the conversation