Friday, January 16, 2009

Derrick R. Cruz

Derrick Cruz is the designer behind Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons. He creates beautiful handcrafted jewelry, accessories, and functional Art Objects, each piece rich with symbolism. I was instantly taken with Derrick's jewelry the from the moment I saw it! Below, is the "Only Daughter" necklace (that I soooo covet) from his Bendición Collection created for BBlessing. One of five visual chapters in a story inspired by a vintage portrait of a little Hungarian girl in a black dress with her bees.

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"After weighing the words "Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons" for some time, their blatant reference to outsiders and men seeking redemption caused a greater alien to rear its head—an only daughter among favored sons. Quiet and stern, she seeks no grandeur. With her are the bees, heralds of our awful stewardship of the world. These are the friends she keeps. Deprived of guidance, our daughter enters a hero's journey..." Oh my poor bleeding heart, I swear this brought tears to my eyes! The story goes unfinished though, there will be two more visual chapters to the collection! I pray there's a happy ending for the lonesome bee girl...

Recently, Derrick was featured on the Selby website. Intrigued once again, I proceeded to his website to see what see what he was up to. He has a line of fancy limited edition, handcrafted straight razors for ale swillin' razor cheeked rouges! The 'Mammoth Razor' is comprised of a mammoth ivory and sterling sheath, a masterfully restored vintage blade and a quartz Stanhope lens. Each razor can be personalized with a custom image in the Stanhope lens and or the addition of a Scrimshaw engraving on the handle.

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More importantly though, is his project inspired by the disappearing Honey Bee. While researching bee mythology a few years ago for his his Bendición Collection, he found out about the honey bee crisis refered to as "Colony Collapse Disorder". Whole colonies of honeybees are abandoning their hives en masse and are not returning! Approximately 80% of all insect pollination is accomplished by honey bees, so this could effect the entire global food supply...scary! No bees=no food! Derrick curated this amazing installation called "A New Hive" at Earnest Sewn in New York, in an attempt to bring this matter to awareness. For this installation, Cruz collaborated with designers and artists Monica Byrne, Cory Gomberg, Caroline Priebe, and Ryder E. Robison to showcase beekeeper-inspired suits, limited-edition eighteen-karat-gold honeycomb accessories, drawings, and sculptures to benefit the nonprofit group Bees Without Borders. Look at this room...isn't it gorgeous!? In the center of the room, 3,000 bees are in an observation hive made from found objects.

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He created eighteen-karat gold pendants cast directly from a piece of abandoned honeycomb wax.

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Then he had PapaBubble Caramels Artisans insert the necklaces in a 25-inch hivelike pyramid made of sugar. The pieces of gold were in crevices filled with honey. From what I understand, anyone who wanted to purchase a pendant would have to crack through the hive, stick the piece in their mouth, and suck the honey off to get to the gold....hmm...delish!

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“The rich folklore and natural history of honeybees inspires an ethereal childlike curiosity in individuals…Curiosity leads to contemplation, internalization, and then to genuine concern. I hope A NEW HIVE will help us regain respect for these amazing creatures; after all, almost everything we eat is made possible by bees." Derrick Cruz

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Donate to "A NEW HIVE"! Proceeds from donations to "A NEW HIVE" will support research and education focusing on the development of sustainable beekeeping practices as well as the up-keep and foundation of new hives in local gardens.

* A side note*
I used to make beeswax candles, soap, lip balm, skin salve and sugar scrub using beeswax and honey. I noticed a sharp increase in wholesale costs so I starting using other natural products. Soy wax for my candles, ect... But the healing properties of honey are unparalled so I started searching for a local source. I thought maybe I could find a local bee farm just outside of Chicago. (I found out about the honey bee crisis during this time.) While trying to find a local source, I discovered that people in cities everywhere are keeping bees right in their backyards, rooftops, and community gardens! Chicago has beehives on top of City Hall! I met a woman who had live bees shipped right to her house! My current living situation permits me from keeping bees unfortunatly, but I found a non-profit organization near by called the Chicago Honey Co-op. I'm hoping to volunteer in the Spring!

"Urban beekeepers, an unofficial secret society of asphalt naturalists, romantics drawn to the beauty of a beehive's intelligent design, epicureans seeking the delectable taste of locally procured honey, and off-the-grid types keeping nature alive in the city."

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The healing properties of honey are not just recognized by holistic health practitioners. For example, Derma Sciences Inc., a New Jersey company that makes medicated and other advanced wound care products, began selling "Medihoney" the first honey-based wound dressing in 2007 after it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The product is effective in healing wounds which are resistant to strong antibiotics.

Beeswax candles have an instantly recognizable scent – a subtle and deliciously sweet honey-like perfume that induces an instant feeling of calm and wellbeing. When burned, beeswax candles release negative ions that improve the quality of the air. As opposed to Paraffin candles that are a by-product of petroleum–a fossil fuel and pollutant. Also, the light produced by beeswax candles is natural like frequencies. The light produced by paraffin candles is like a fluorescent lightbulb...chaos frequencies!

Honey is the Nectar of the Goddess: check out The Bee Goddess


Mya.L said...

Dear Lady Lavona, I've just stumbled across your 'cabinet de curiosités' and I must say it is utterly fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing all these beautiful objects and amazing subjects. In case you don't know her yet, please go and have a look at Virginie Ropars' magnificent dolls:

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post, thank you. I thought you'd like these two new photos. They will become available in February -- the individual versions of the large hexagonal pyramid.

Abandoned Comb Amulet: Sugar Glass, New York Honey, 18k gold honeycomb cast from comb sculpted by Brooklyn Bees. Each is totally unique. Limited Production of 60.

Gratefully Yours,

Derrick R. Cruz


Oh swooon...your killing me! Sooo beautiful...they look like amber!

fanciful said...

Reminds me of urban farming movements I've been hearing about- from people keeping chickens in the city to guerrilla gardeners who beautify forgotten spaces, like highway medians, at night with beautiful plants. Warms the heart.
And black sheep's jewelry- goose bumps!

jessica, a miniature rhino said...

lady lavona,
i love reading your blog! so interesting and detailed-i can see how much effort and love goes into it. I've been working on a piece with bees, so when I saw this I had to share. I was reading Metaphors of Memory and think of this, "In the margins of a traditional book, geared to the personal memory,
there were no directives such as those which characterized the
scholoastic tradition, instead, there were allusions to the retention
of what one had read. In books of hours miniaturists drew coins or
jewels or other valuable that could be saved. Flowers and beehives are
also found: what was reading if not collecting nectar from the flowers
to be stored in the honeycomb of our memory?"

I remember hearing about the decline of bees associated with the rapture and it's always been such a strong visual in my head.
Have you seen this...
Also my boyfriend really, really wanted that straight razor for christmas!

ada and the fox said...

what a great post! do you mind if i link it and/or do a post on it on my