Blueberry blues

I have the blueberry blues. What is that? I don’t know, it just came over me, now. An itching, nagging, longing feeling.

It started during A to Z, on day U for Ugly, when I picked up this ring again. In my eyes, a failed ring design, but then I saw a blueberry in there, and got interested again.

I have now unsoldered it. It was a bit tricky and the first time I ever did “undo” with solder work (as far as I can remember).

There is no “undo” button here, or actually, there is in general very little “undo” in metal work. Once you have soldered, the only way you can “undo” is to heat up the entire piece until the solder melts again. Solder melts at a slightly lower temperature than the silver, but you have to make sure that no other soldered joints melt by mistake. It’s a matter of concentration, staying cool and calm, seizing the moment.

My dear blueberry. I was thinking of a pendant for around the neck and quickly tested some ideas with foil, but I am not convinced, as I miss some green colour. Then I came to think of the green ribbons from the shop where I also found the vintage Silk yarn, and hey, they would give that green touch, for a bracelet perhaps. I should have some light green leather somewhere, which could also be an option. I will probably oxidise the blueberry, to get it dark. So, the ideas are cooking…

Blueberry blues (or “blåbärsblues”). The symptoms: An urge to browse through summer-in-Sweden-photos, find the forest ones and then just sit there and stare, counting the days until you are there again.

Other symptoms are a kind of rose coloured denial. Yes, pull a bit closer here, and I’ll tell you, because “Truth be told”: It takes ages to pick enough for a pie or some pots of jam, not to mention if your goal is to fill your deep freezer with a stock for the winter. The mosquitos can be pretty annoying and it’s always too late when I remember what a bad idea it is to wear white trousers when you hook down in a bluberry hunt. Also, after I have had a few, I have had enough.

This is not about the blueberries, it is about the forest. I grew up surrounded by this kind of mixed forest with lots of conifers, the ground covered by a carpet of blueberry plants. The trees let through enough sun for the berries, and the way the sun filters through the high tree crowns at dusk and dawn gives dreamlike sceneries.

In  Sweden, the blueberry culture is nurtured and reinforced by children’s books, since Elsa Beskow’s Peter in Blueberry land (published in 1901 and still a classic) and until today. All based on the long tradition of going out in the forest and collect what you need. After all, wild berries was in the past an important vitamine source. So there are actually a lot of things that come together in this nostalgic longing. (If there was such a thing as a database with the DNA of Swedish culture, I would add “blueberries”, and tag them “intangible heritage”.)

And here is “Truth be told, No. II”, and I don’t need to whisper here, because every year the papers reveal the same scandals: Work force come from far away countries and continents to pick berries in Sweden, under poor working conditions. This article in the Economist (August 2012) suggests: Berrypickers, unite! Globalisation has hit even my most rose coloured childhood memories. How different my blueberry blues is from that of an anonymous Thai worker who can not afford to pay a ticket back home again.

So here I sit, between my silver blueberry from Blueberry land and the fair trade stickers of the globalised market. Times are changing.

This silver blueberry triggered a lot. Blueberries, so rich in vitamines and stories. What I want to say with all this is that one single little something can hold a lot of meaning, and that even a blueberry can potentially be captured in jewellery.

Are there things that give you this kind of longing, something from your childhood, from a place where you used to live in the past? Could a piece of jewellery symbolise that for you, and would you care to have such a jewellery? I’d love to know!

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