Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Challenge of Travel



If you’ve been reading my blog for long you already know I love to travel. In fact I crave it. So when Erin offered up the Challenge of Travel I signed up right away. The challenge was to pick a region we do not live in (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania). Then we were to pick a nation from that region, or let Erin Choose for us. I chose the Oceania region, and since this was a challenge I let Erin choose the Nation, which is Kiribati.



The republic of Kiribati is an island group in Micronesia straddling the equator. Kiribati's 33 atolls and one raised coral island are scattered over an area of 3.5 million km, however their land mass comprises of only 810 sq. km. Kiribati has a population of roughly 90,000 people. While there are sandy beaches and warm water year round, Kiribati has almost no tourists. Getting there is not cheap or easy, but if by chance you find yourself there, you should be prepared to rough it.




The average high temperatures are quite reasonable compared to other well-known places in the tropics but the humidity more than makes up for this, making it feel very sauna-like. Industry includes fishing and handmade crafts. Exports include coconuts, seaweed, fish, and Copra which is dried coconut kernels from which oil is obtained. Agriculture includes Copra, taro, sweet potatoes and fish.

I chose to tell the story of Kiribati through the pieces I made; all earrings, because I can't seem to stop making them.

Nearly every article I read reported the Kiribati people to be very polite, laid back, warm and friendly, and very welcoming to tourists. They love to dance and host lavish celebrations with colorful costumes.

The earrings below represent the people of Kiribati, their personality and colorful costumes. I used polymer flower beads from Too Aquarious, tiny lampwork beads from Pebble Dreams, and Vintaj Brass.


'South Pacific Paradise'

These earrings represent their heritage, hard work, pride, and independence. I used lampwork beads from Flameart, Copper dangles from Missficklemedia, and Vintaj Brass.


'Polynesia'

Kiribati is home to the South Pacific's largest marine reserve. It is also one of the low-lying Pacific island states seen as highly vulnerable to rising sea levels and global warming, and frequently lends its voice to calls for action on climate change. In the last couple years there have been articles predicting the entire island chain sinking under water, and the prospect of finding land elsewhere or even settling in Australia.

These earrings represent both fresh and salt water; the very water they depend on for living and making an income may very well be the thing that destroys this beautiful nation. Made with tiny lampwork beads from Pebble Dreams, and sterling silver.


'Drops of Water'

Not everything is bright and colorful in Kiribati. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati. South Tarawa is one of the most densely populated, severely poverty-stricken places in the world. Other islands have far fewer people, but getting to them can be difficult, and conditions are even more primitive. These earrings represent the darker side; poverty, overcrowding, lack of jobs, and wondering if or when they will have to leave the islands. The earrings are made with Czech nuggets, Swarovski pearls and crystals, and sterling silver.


'Storm Brewing'



A big thanks to Erin for hosting another fun challenge. Please visit Erin's blog for the list of the other participants.


32 comments:

Jenni said...

Thank you Alice for teaching me a little about Kiribati.I love the thought that went in to your pieces and how you chose to represent different issues that occur in your chosen country with your jewelry pieces." Drops of water' is gorgeous..they all are.
jenni

Cassie Donlen said...

Can honestly say I've never heard of Kiribati. It looks like a beautiful place. Loved the photos.

Great job on the jewels.mthe top photo with the polymer flower earrings are my favorite. I can see them wearing something like that for the colorful dances you spoke about.

What a great idea for a blog hop.

MaryL said...

Very well done Alice!! Not only did you design some very nice pieces but you captured the situation and life of the people. 'Storm Brewing' especially touched me as I could feel the melancholy.

Cilla said...

What a wonderful post and such great photos! I love all your earrings! I just want to wear them all.

Gale said...

I like how you explored...and pointed out there's trouble even in paradise due to global warming. The colorful lampwork earrings are my favorites (but I have a tube bead fetish lately). The others are lovely, too.

What a great idea for a challenge! Off to tour the rest of the world.....

Tammie said...

Lovely collection and thanks for telling the story of this tiny island nation with your pieces. Nice work.

A Half-Baked Notion said...

Alice, your earring collection certainly rose to the occasion! From the bright and colourful flowered design, right through to the dark and fearful, in your "Storm Brewing"; all told a piece of the puzzle. How tragic it would be if these fearful predictions come to pass, and this beautiful place is lost forever!

Jennifer said...

I will admit I had never heard of Kiribati. Thanks for an interesting post. Lovely earrings - which pair did you wear first?

Micheladas said...

I love the drops of water earrings. Great job.

Pixiloo said...

Your earrings are all wonderful and I love how each of them tells just a bit about Kiribati. The first pair, though, just makes me swoon. The colors really are a paradise. :)

Patti Van said...

My eyes are now wide open about Oceania - their immanent fate is terrifying. However, I love how you told your story through your creations - each piece is beautiful!

Lela said...

Well, count me with those who had not heard of Kiribati...I had heard of 'Christmas Island' though...so close. ;)

Beautiful work, Alice...each pair is so different and yet so unique. Storm Brewing is very classic - love it!

kimmykats said...

I too had never heard of this magical yet difficult place. The earrings tell beautifully the stories of their life you shared.

Bobbie said...

Alice, these are all beautiful earrings on their own, but the meaning you put into each one makes them even more special -- great work!

LisaS said...

Great background info for your inspiration. I love your jewelry pieces ;)

Jewels By Ine said...

The south pacific earrings are my favorite! very sweet!

beadrecipes said...

Who knew that earrings could be so evocative? They each tell a story about Kiribati, fantastic!

Therese's Treasures said...

Hi Alice,
Thank you for taking me along on your trip to Kiribati. I am so in awe of the beauty of this place and sadden by the fact that in the future it may be no more lost to the ocean like Atlantis. The earrings you created as keepsakes of this wonderful trip are gorgeous and diplict this Island Paradise so well from the happy to the sad, well done. I love them all!
Therese

A Polymer Penchant said...

Oh Alice, I loved your post and how you told us more with each pair of earrings - what a wonderful journey with beautiful sites. I think the second pair is my fav, but all pretty. That thatched roof is incredible!

becca said...

Alice- I loved the 'Drops of Water' earrings. Very fun.

Also, you are one of the winners of my butterfly charms! Would you please send me your e-mail so I can get your address? Mine is beccalyn_alaska@yahoo.com Thank you!

stregajewellry said...

What fun to learn about a place I had never ever heard of before! I love that each pair of earrings told a story of its own. They made the people come to life for me

Susanm said...

I really like how you used the earrings to convey different aspects of Kiribati. The inspiration for the third pair may have been dark, but the earrings are stunning.

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Alice, you have given me much to think about. I am deeply touched by your dedication of each piece to parts of Kiribati. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely pieces!

Holly said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous earrings! I especially love how each pair is very unique and so symbolic of what you were teaching us here...very successful!

Shaiha said...

I love how all of your earring speak of different things. What a great job!

TesoriTrovati said...

Amazing how such a beautiful place can be besieged by such sad and disturbing things from climate change to poverty. But I love the way you took us on this journey through these diverse earrings. I would be proud to wear any one of them, but the Polynesia ones are my favorite! Thanks for taking up the challenge (and letting me challenge you!) Miss Alice! Enjoy the day! Erin

Lola said...

Beautiful post ... Kiribati sounds like THE place to be if you want to get away from it ALL! The earrings you made are beautiful, but the first pair depicts what a true paradise would be to me!

Marlene Cupo said...

So many places few of us have ever heard of. You certainly payed your island a great tribute with your collection. Congrats

SueBeads said...

Beautiful pieces that represent wonderfully! Real the book Sex Lives of Cannibals - it really tells about that country!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

I love how you created a pair of earrings to represent something unique about the land and it's people. Each tells a beautiful story about Kiribati. I especially like the second pair and it's tribute to their heritage and hard work.

It is so disheartening to hear that this beautiful place is essentially disappearing due to rising sea levels and suffering from overcrowding.

Thank you for the tour, I enjoyed my visit!

Kashmira Patel said...

Wow! Those are some very thoughtful pieces! I really enjoyed traveling with you :)

The blue ones with beads from pebble dreams gotta be my favorite. They do have so many colors of the ocean

windbent said...

Very fun. I'm still hopping this hop and am so amazed by all the great jewelry, photos and cultural information.