What is it?
A custom project centered around reproducing a pair of antique square Mesoamerican ear flares from a rare blue-gray Guatemalan jadeite. Created by Jared Karnes of Forest + Fiber and Onetribe.
I love doing reproductions and interpretations because it gives me a chance to study something ancient, and translate what I’ve learned and observed into something uniquely my own. In this case, my customer requested for new pieces to be carved that emulated the shape of a pair of Mayan ear flares from my antiquities collection (shown in a below photograph as the reference printout).
The project started by selecting the jade and creating blanks to hand-carve using a combination of 6″ diamond grinding wheels and a rotary carving hand-piece with various diamond bits. I did a rough sketch of the line work and went to town on the carving.
I really love the square format of the original antique flowers, but I feel their shape is very vague. I wanted my pieces to be a blockier form that would exaggerate the unique square aesthetic. The result is a very bold flower shape with just a slight radius to the edges, rather than the more rounded petals of the ancient style. The rear of the face slopes down into a modern double-flared plug wearing style.
The jade itself is unique for two reasons: the blue-gray color is unusual, and it was sourced from the Motagua River Valley in Guatemala, which is the original source for all jade used by the Olmec, Maya, Aztec and other Mesoamerican cultures. I’m always honored to be asked to carve this traditional material into designs inspired by those cultures because it makes me feel like I’m continuing a stone carving lineage by keeping the knowledge of material and technique alive. We use diamonds and electricity today, but we’re still coveting and sanding away at jade – a stone harder than steel – more than 2000 years after we learned to do it.