ARBORETUM from Structural Series #1: Decomposition of sterling silver, magnolia leaves, linen thread; fabricated, 40.6 centimeters long, 1999. Private Collection. Photograph by Doug Yaple.

Sarah Hood

The Power of Landscape


She has degrees in metals and poetry—and her interest in Eastern philosophy, she says, gives her, “an equanimity, a way of seeing things that doesn’t elevate one thing above another, but rates everything equally.”


Ever since the first Paleolithic artist plucked charcoal out of the fire and drew representations of the world, people have created landscapes. Landscapes can be beautiful or awe inspiring, which is one reason we love them. But they are also endlessly compelling because they tell us something about ourselves. Whether we are gazing at a sweeping nineteenth-century panorama of the American West or an impressionistic eleventh-century Chinese mountainscape, we envision ourselves in those natural environments. How we feel once we find ourselves in those landscapes, virtually speaking, can be revelatory.

Seattle jewelrymaker Sarah Hood is well aware of the power of landscape to shape those who live in it. For more than a decade she has been making art that evokes landscape and the natural world. “I’m trying to create new landscapes that deal with the human condition,” states Hood. “I want to consider where we fit in that landscape. Here in the Northwest, where we are surrounded by mountains and water, we all feel the presence of the landscape acutely.” Yet, says Hood, even in a place such as Seattle, where astonishing vistas are visible from nearly every window and park bench, it is easy to be lulled into thinking of the natural world as a pretty picture for our enjoyment rather than as a living, breathing, physical, and sometimes perilous part of our universe. “We are constantly looking at mountains. We see them everyday. Yet if you have done any mountain climbing or bouldering, you know mountains can be monsters and terrifying. They are not always cuddly and cute. So by shifting the scale of things in my landscapes, I hope to change the perspective a little and make people think.”




More Sarah Hood jewelry images.



Robin Updike has lived in Seattle for nearly twenty-five years, and in that time she has come to love the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest with its majestic mix of water, mountains and evergreens. Yet she had never considered the idea of looking at the region’s natural world through the lens of a jewelry artist—until she met Sarah Hood. “Hood is, in more or less equal parts, a jewelrymaker, a naturalist and a philosopher,” says Updike. “And that makes Hood’s jewelry a little like wearable haiku. Her jewelry is a meditation on our place in the natural world.” Updike is an arts and culture writer in metropolitan Seattle.



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Nubian Jewelry

Kate Mensah

Philadelphia Craft Show


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