I went through this phase in high school where I’d glue flowers on cheap silver studs. If memory serves, I got the idea from a girl named Morgan Leonard–Fleckman — a pint-sized thing who could eat for days and had this knack for making even the simplest white tee look polished.
Little did I know I was making ‘wearables’ (aka living jewelry). All I knew was there were chandelier flowers (actually called Pieris) in the back corner of my parent’s garden and if I hot glued them just right, they’d last a few hours before they wilted or fell off. The dangly earrings made me feel like I was a flower princess.
But that glorious feeling was nothing compared to putting on a piece of living jewelry made by Kara Navradszky. (More on this in a second.)
I stumbled across Kara work on Instagram over a year ago and was hooked from moment one. She turns everyday women into walking art displays. Her stunning wearable floral arrangements are a riot of living texture and subtle earth tones.
When I took over the Kenmore Air in-flight magazine, Kara was one of the first people I knew I wanted to feature. I wanted to know the talent behind this magical jewelry.
And much to my delight, Kara was all you could hope for and more — which I guess shouldn’t be surprising. How could someone who makes such abundant pieces not overflow with warmth and kindness?
A mom of two, her jewelry was mostly a side hobby until this year. Pieces were generally commissioned for milestone events, like prom, weddings, and babies. This year, Kara started running a booth at the San Juan Summer Arts Festival and folks couldn’t get enough of her work.
As the name ‘living jewelry’ would suggest, each piece is alive. However, unlike my hot-glued earrings, Kara’s necklaces, bracelets, and rings keep right on living and growing. Using a non-toxic glue, she applies a moss backing to a solid piece and then delicately arranges the flowers with the same non-toxic glue. The flowers eventually outgrow their base, making the piece not very functional within a month’s time. But then the pieces can easily be added to your garden or used as a display in your home.
A few weeks back, a package arrived on my doorstep. Inside was the most stunning necklace and ring. I wore both pieces to a wedding, celebrating two of the most special people Brian and Deanna Hunter.
The feedback I got was overwhelming. Now, the pieces keep me company in my office, bringing a little bit extra love and happiness to my life. And today, I’m over the moon because I’m headed to Friday Harbor to meet finally Kara in person!
She and her work are going to be featured on Evening Magazine! There’s likely to be a rush on her fabulous one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted designs. But you can beat the rush by ordering a necklace now through Kara’s website.
You can follow along with her crafty ways on Instagram @apothecadesign, where she shares tidbits about her family and life as an artist.