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Interview with Helen Chantler

What inspires you? An interview with Helen Chantler, designer and founder of Reflective Images
Helen Chantler on horseback

Helen on a recent trip to Nicaragua, getting a fresh perspective. What are you inspired by these days? I just went to Nicaragua and saw the most incredible trees--- including this Sabo Tree. That tree is so enormous and so perfectly formed and so beautiful. A tree like that holds a community of species and beings that is absolutely enormous.

Sabo Tree

A Sabo Tree, taken on a recent trip to Nicaragua.

There are millions of things living in contact with each other above and below the ground. It’s connecting into the environment and providing life all around. It just felt good to be even near that tree—it was very hopeful. It just keeps growing in a magnificent way.   Are you going to bring this into your jewelry somehow this year? I really want to do more tree of life imagery, and I expect that it definitely will start to show up when I start designing again.   What other designing do you feel inspired to do?

I was in the Rocky Mountains north of here at a hot spring and these deer came right up to us and curiously watched us for a long time. And I felt when I looked into the eyes of these deer—it was so expansive—it was like looking into the night sky. That’s something I’d like to express in the jewelry—their fragility and the connection to the expansive night sky. I don’t know if I can do it, but…. I’ll do something around it.

Owl Pendant This Owl Pendant was designed and given away for Wild Earth Guardian's Silent Auction In the past, you’ve done a lot bird images. Are you going to continue in that direction? Certainly. I love doing birds, and we saw some of the most incredible birds in Nicaragua, kayaking, watching these egrets, herons, king fishers and osprey.   How do you conceive of new designs? We’re about to go to the Tucson gem show, and I’ll be picking out new gems for one of a kind pieces. A lot of new designs will come out oriented around these new stones.

This Modern ring has a "River" of 14K Gold running across it.   Also, sometimes customers will request a particular animal totem or images that are meaningful to them… Like our river rings—a couple really wanted the imagery in this ring (shown right). Right now we have a customer who wants us to make an infinity shape and we’ve designed the part.

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