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Call of the Wild

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This time of year, antlers are everywhere. The most beguiling are individually hand-carved and cast in bronze in Los Angeles by jewelry designer Eilen R. Stewart, founder of ERS Creative.

Stewart didn't intend for her antler-inspired designs, part of her Creature Kingdom Collection, to become such a seasonal sensation. But the LA-based artist reveals that her antler earrings have taken on a life of their own this holiday season, crossing the boundaries of demographics.

"People who hunt want them. People who are into Western art and decor want them. Hipsters seem really drawn to them. And of course there are people who see them as Christmas-y, although this was not my original intention," she says. The artist calls this transcendence an accidental joy.

The series also includes a matching ring and bracelet. These, she explains, appeal to some and not to others because of their aggressive vibe: in the ring and bracelet, the horns point outward and upward, as in Nature. "In the wild, antlers are fierce weapons, intended for display and used to show dominance," says Stewart.

The earrings are easy to wear, however. Created by Stewart in a couple of sizes, each antler is individually carved and cast in bronze, as opposed to being cast in a mold. Although substantial, the earrings are not unbearably heavy (I am wearing the Moose antler earrings, size Large, as I write this!). The ear-wire itself is sterling silver, impeccably joined to the bronze form below with an invisible solder. The wire itself has been finessed by the artist, flattened slightly so it slips easily in and out of the piercing. The antler forms themselves hang and sway gracefully when worn, and call to mind other organic forms, like oak leaves and coral branches. The mellow bronze surface is demi-matte, lightly textured with a lustrous patina.

Because the pair of antlers is not symmetrical--and again, a deer's are not-- these pieces do not belong in the realm of Rudolph. Instead, they summon ancestral spirits. Paleolithic people treasured antlers, carving and scratching their durable surface with lunar charts, maps, codes and calendars which marked the movements of stars and migration of herds.

And antlers mean power -- this season and in every season. These primal, in fact timeless pieces will rock, long after the Winter Solstice. Large Moose Antlers by Eilen R Stewart, $90.

VICTORIA THOMAS

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