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What’s in a Name? “DaVine Jewelry” Explained

From time to time, I get questions about the name “DaVine Jewelry”.  Some assume “DaVine” is my last name.  Others assume I don’t know how to spell “divine”.  Obviously, neither of those are true.

When I first started selling my work, I usually went by my own name or “DV Jewelry”.  But “Danielle Vaillancourt Jewelry” can be a mouthful, and as it turns out there is already an artist out there doing business as “DV Jewelry” and I wanted to avoid any confusion.  And so the search for a name began.

It was actually my husband Rob that came up with the name “DaVine”, and he had this to say about it.

There are actually four components to “DaVine” that represent Danielle and her jewelry.  First, it’s a play on her name.  DaV – Danielle Vaillancourt.  We could have omitted the ‘a’ and gone with D-Vine, but that has been done to death (think A-Rod, J-Lo, K-Fed).

Second, you have the word “vine”, like the type of plant.  Nature has always been at the forefront of Danielle’s work.  Her logo, which predates the name DaVine by several years, has a leaf embedded in the V.  “Vine” is another symbol of that.

One aspect of the name that most people don’t realize is that the first five letters, “Davin”, also represents Danielle’s mother’s birth name.  Danielle has talked about rummaging through her mother’s and grandmothers’ jewelry collections as a child, and how that fueled her love of what ended up becoming her craft.  The name is, in part, an homage to the ladies in Danielle’s family that have helped her become who she is today.

And finally, of course, the name is a homophone for “divine”.  Danielle finds nature and spirituality to be very closely related. Many people who look at her work might say that, by virtue of its connection to nature, it is divinely inspired.  The name suggests delight and loveliness, and we hope the jewelry does as well.

I love that Rob was able to help me come up with something that fully encapsulated my work, philosophy, and so many things that I care about.  He found a way to explain it all and bring it together in a very meaningful name that I am proud to use.

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Exploring the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Strawberry Begonia

Last week we took a short trip to Washington, D.C. for a long weekend to attend our friends’ wedding ceremony, while also squeezing in some site-seeing. Our main goal was to visit one of our favorite of the Smithsonian Art Museums, the Renwick Gallery, right near the White House, but when we got there we found it was undergoing renovations and closed to the public through next year. Disappointed, and with only a little time left before we had to get ready for the wedding that evening, we headed over to the National Mall.

Bleeding Hearts

After checking out the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden we came across the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, an almost secret garden tucked between the Hirshorn and the Arts and Industries buildings.

FlowerCollage

This small but lush garden with a winding pathway was fun to explore, full of beautiful plants and flowers, including some I had never seen or heard of before.

LeafCollage

I took a bunch of photos of some of my favorite leaves and flowers there to take home with me for inspiration. One of the flowers I found especially interesting was the Aristolochia Grandiflora, or Pelican Flower.

Aristolochia Grandiflora (Pelican Flower)

Apparently this flower has a horrible odor so that it can attract flies deep into its pitcher to pollinate it, but I wasn’t able to get close enough to smell it for myself. Nearby was a very attractive but deadly looking plant called a Solanum Quitoense, from the nightshade family.

SolanumQuitoense

I learned that Mary Livingston Ripley was the wife of the Smithsonian Institution’s eighth Secretary, and she persuaded the Women’s Committee of the Smithsonian Associates (which she founded) to create and support this garden.

Bee on Coreopsis

This area was supposed to be a parking lot, but Mary Livingston Ripley wanted it to be a fragrant garden instead.

Angelonia

I could have spent hours inspecting all the plants in the Ripley garden, and I’d love to go back and see how different it looks as the seasons change.

Succulents

Succulents

CarmencitaCastorBean

Carmencita Castor Bean Plant

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Behind the Jewelry: Where my inspiration comes from

Leaf
“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

I love that quote from Georgia O’Keeffe, and she is one of my earliest artistic inspirations that has stuck with me through the years. I’ve always been drawn to her explorations of natural objects, and her studies showing her deep interest in their details, curves, shadows, lighting, and forms. Growing up with gardens, by the forest, and near beaches fueled my fascination with the natural world, so it’s not surprising that I found meaning in much of O’Keeffe’s work.
Plant Collage
Like many creative people I tend to collect and surround myself with items I find inspiring or interesting, something I’ve done since I was small. I still have shells, rocks, and dried flowers I picked up as a kid, and they hold spots in my now large collection of natural objects. I fill up shadow boxes with them to adorn my studio walls, keep some organized carefully in easily accessible boxes, and display others in curio cabinets. They range from whole shells and broken shell fragments, to various rocks and stones, bones and horn, to branches, bark, twigs, dried seedpods and seeds, dried flowers and leaves, to dead insects, and even abandoned wasp nests and empty chrysalises. Friends and family now bring back “treasures” for me on their travels, and I always love having new items to add to my inspiration collection.

Holding these objects in my hand, looking at them closely to inspect and feel their textures, shapes, and patterns is exciting and always gives me new ideas. With my work I hope to show people the details and beauty I see in the natural world, allowing them to carry these objects with them as wearable sculptures, reminding them of things often overlooked and taken for granted during everyday life.

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
African Violet

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