They me seem disturbing and troublesome and yet when closely examined they are amazing creatures. I will always remember when I lived in Liberia (West Africa) prospecting for diamonds at an alluvial mine my father and I had built in the jungle; Late one night in jungle camp, when the weather was mighty cold and damp I had to dodge these winged beast I had not yet encountered up close and personal! They had these flying black rhino beetles and I can tell you, you wouldn’t want to be hit by one of those flying straight at you but I have been told they are quite tasty!!!
Then there were ant hills…these great big red mounds of sand scattered across the jungle and paths. One trek in to the jungle to see some diamond gravel pits we came across an army of ants, they must have been tens of thousands of them, moving in a snake like formation at least 10 foot wide. Even if you just dropped a crumb a swarm of ants would pile upon each other! So it was safe to say that our kitchens had to be spotless and crumb free!! They always did intrigued me, especially how they could carry so much more than their weight, perhaps I thought if an ant can do it, why cant I!
Insects of all manner are like the natural and constant soundtrack of the jungle. They were part of our life and my whole family learned to respect and not fear them, we had a strong tradition not to harm them unless truly necessary.
I can even remember (which is surprising since it was the days of Flower Power) when I lived in a hut on a beach in India , it was a normal part of the routine to shake your boots and sleeping bags out for yellow and black scorpions and the like. I was able to go quite sometime without incident actually but I admit I did get slack for the last week or so. On the last day after the daily shower or should I say trip to the well with a jug for water, I returned to the hut, rolled up the sleeping bag and found I had been living with a big scorpion underneath me for quite sometime probably, somehow and luckily we did not harm each other!
My exposure to these varied insects from around the world I guess planted seeds in my designer mind which would start to sprout when I stumbled upon a book at the Basel Jewellery Fair about Lalique! Lalique was very strongly inspired by insects.
I was initially looking for more inspiration from the Art Nouveau era and going through prints of Alphonse Mucha knowing that my designs based on the beauty of Mucha’s winged ladies, swirling and flowing lines attracted a lot of attention. That’s when I stumbled across the first pieces of Lalique’s jewellery I had seen. It was beautiful enamel and jewel encrusted dragonflies, beetles and scarabs…….as they say the rest is now history!
I now invite you to view some of my creations!
Ari Daniel Norman – Founder, Designer, Silversmith, lover of nature, family, adventure and life!!