Her lover gave her a splendid orchid blossom. It splurged; it faded. Still cherishing, she tucked it in a drawer.
A month later, forgetting, she opened and found the blossom still there - dried but alive with memory. A jeweler, she dreamt of turning it into gold.
She consulted teachers, experts; no one could tell her how to perform this alchemy. So she set out - by trying and trying again - to find her own way.
In her laboratory, she learned to love the curves and curls of earth's great art and with a delicate brush, a slow distilling process, preserve the gift in gold.
When I walk into the workshop of Ana Catalina Girlado - in Colombia where gold is the language of the pre-Colombian gods - I shiver to see what I have never seen before. Seed pods, leaves, orchids, fiddleheads - the shapes of my garden, the familiars of the forest - all shimmering in gold.
The native cloudy emeralds of Colombia are centered in blossoms I try on my finger. Prickly sweet gum balls dangle from my ears, reminding me of how they carpeted the ground of my childhood home. Ferns dangle, seed pods swirl . . . the original preserved in the jewelry itself. I fall for the whole paradise.
Never before in a US retail store, Ibu is thrilled to introduce this artisan and her brilliant work to you: a luminous celebration of the earth and its sensuous forms.
Every piece is different, unique, because every blossom is its own shape. I love this: Catalina records on each package the name of the plant, as well as the date and time it was discovered and plucked. And then she places it in a wild and dreamy box, as evocative as the work she has made, and offers it to the world. Nature made new.
I love the reverence of this work. What better thing can we do each day than to discover what is real, what is beautiful, what is true, and to elevate it with whatever our gifts may be. Catalina - mage and conjurer in this work - gives herself over to the charms of nature and makes of them poetry in gold.
So may we all be about this task (what could be more important?): the re-enchantment of the world.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker