I know what you are thinking: what ARE these things? Are they oranges? Or are they leather? Are they earrings? Are they magical? The answer to all these questions is YES!
These earrings are one of a kind wonders made by my sister, Victoria, a Fulbright Scholar and artists living in Florence, Italy with her writer husband (talk about livin' the good life!). Her earrings are inspired by her orange peel art in which she cures and sews orange peels into tapestries, installations, and other living pieces of art. Her Fulbright work in Florence took her to the world-famous tanneries in Italy where she learned how to turn orange peels into fruit leather using the ancient methods of leather tanning there.
Some of her original orange peel art includes this house she built from wood and oranges peels she stitched together called Accumulated Matter. Here's the exterior of that project...
...and the interior. It smelled heavenly in there, like sweet oranges! And the thin, cured strips of orange peels shine like stained glass along this small building, making it feel like a sacred citrus sanctuary.
Her more recent work included a solo exhibition in Florence where she got to showcase her orange peel work with her new tanning methods which made her peels more flexible than her previous curing procedures. This image below features her orange peel scroll, called Cascade, which was a prominent piece in her Alchemical Orange Project:
So how did that larger than life art become epic teeny tiny orange peel earrings? Victoria explains it perfectly when she says, "I wanted to play with the notion of how art can be displayed, as there are many critical dialogues that challenge exhibiting art in the normal context of a gallery."
She goes on to explain, "I think of my earrings as wearable sculptures...In this way, the relationship between art and daily life is fluid and effortless."
Wearable art? Heck yes!
Victoria also likes to play with the idea of refuse and discarded material--here the orange peel and arguably the least desirable part of the orange (we all typically go for the sweet fruit in the middle, rather than the bitter skin).
She says, "I want to encourage people to question the way that we use materials and what we consider valuable or useless in order to encourage new perspectives about seeing the beauty and potential in something that is normally overlooked."
So if you want some one-of-a-kind wildly inventive citrusy wearable art made from a top secret tanning process known only to Victoria, you really should check out her earrings on Etsy. Each pair is unique and handmade, so you won't ever find someone with a pair quite like yours. I already have a pair and can't wait to get more! Which brings me to my last question: Orange you glad there are artists out there who see the world through orange-peel-shaped lenses? I sure am, for it reminds us to enjoy the whimsy and playfulness of life and to look for enchantment in the often overlooked thing, like peels, in our day-to-day living.
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