Off Its Rocker

I hope you will indulge me, but I'm going to let me inner literary nerd out to play for a bit.  Growing up, I was a huge fan of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia and A Wrinkle in Time; among other titles.  Naturally, even as an adult, I love the Harry Potter tales, Fantastic Beasts and even The Hunger Games.  Like many bibliophiles, I read (and write) to escape the stress, drama, confusion and emotional toll my real job can take.

As I have gotten older (although perhaps not 'grown up'), I find myself waxing nostalgic for the feelings of escapism and wonder that I always felt when reading of fantastical places and people.  Looking back, those novels were one of the many things that helped shape my view of an idealized world and provided something of a road map to the person I have become.  However, sometimes we still need a reminder that even when things get a bit upside down and life feels like it is spinning out of our control that we'll somehow manage to land upright.

A reminder of simpler times; of magic and awe; that we're stronger than we think we are; and even that all the sacrifice, hard work or PTSD will be worth it.  At least that's what I try to tell myself.  But I am a very, very visual person.  I frequently need a visual reminder (much like the concept of  Victorian 'touch wood') that it's going to be alright.  That wonders still exist - we just have to look at little harder to find them now.

To that end, I designed a ring which I call my "Topsy-Turvy" Ring.  In part, a reference to the Mad Hatter's infamous Tea Party; it is my visual reminder that no matter how out of control, upside down or topsy-turvy I may feel or the world may get; there is still magic to be had.  It will get better.  As Aslan said in The Chronicles of Narnia, it just requires: "Courage, dear heart." 

My original sketch.

“I don’t see how he can ever finish, if he doesn’t begin." ~ Alice, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland 

I had a very specific deign vision in mind when I approached Setterberg Jewelers in Sun City, Ariz. to help make this ring a reality and the visual reminder that I needed.  Check out the photos below (along with some quotes from my favorite childhood novels) to see where the inspiration came from; what it means to me and how the final product turned out.

The first CAD design / incarnation of of the Inspired Antiquity Topsy Turvy ring.

"Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality." ~ Cheshire Cat, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Incarnation #3:  Changed from prong-set to bezels; more in keeping with the Mad Hatter's tea cups.

"Don't try to comprehend with your mind.  Your minds are very limited.  Use your intuition." ~ A Wrinkle in Time

Incarnation #4:  Closed & tapered in the bottom of the bezels thereby giving them a more tea cup-like, flared at the top appearance.

"You're entirely bonkers.  But I'll tell you a secret.  All the best people are." ~ Alice, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

In this process, there were close to a half dozen incarnations of the ring in an attempt to get the perfect illusion of balance and chaos before it even made its way to a wax model or casting.  The hardest part of the design wasn't the order of the stones or what shape stones to pick.  It was getting each of the stones positioned correctly on both their horizontal and vertical axis.  

From the top down, the diamonds appear to sit flush & aligned with one another.  It's not until you look more closely that you truly realize how off-kilter from each other they truly are.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice. 
~ Alice, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

No two stones sit at exactly the same angle in any direction and yet from the top, all appear to be equal - exactly the same even.  Like many things in life, only when viewed from a different perspective do the nuances of the angles appear.  A sparkly reminder to always look beneath the surface or else you might miss something truly exciting.  Because, sometimes the joy to be had is actually in the chaos.

From this angle, you can see more clearly how the emerald sits askew to the heart & round diamonds.  It took time & practice to get the angles just right.

"Believing takes practice." ~ A Wrinkle in Time

After several more incarnations, the final design exhibits the perfect balance of symmetry & wild movement. Something just a bit askew in every direction.

"Topsy-turvy: 1: in utter confusion or disorder; 2: with the top or head downward: UPSIDE DOWN; topsy-turvy adjective: turned topsy-turvy : totally disordered." ~ Webster's Dictionary

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