A couple of weeks ago California based jewellery maker Megan James contacted me about doing an artist’s trade, swapping some Cosmic Drifters magic for a few of her pieces. As a long-time admirer of hers through the distant, adoring lens of Instagram I jumped at the chance to swap designs, having noticed an affinity between the images and values of our brands. Megan’s witchy beachy jewellery is all produced by her, by hand and has a super laid back beachy bohemian vibe to it, reminiscent of the kind of things I’d see dread-adorned travellers wearing in Bali. The thing that I feel makes it most interesting though is this witchy slant that she adds to all of her bohemian pieces. She uses low-fi processes to make her work such as stamping simple metal bands with messages, wrapping crystals with leather and macramé and corking little bottles to make terrariums. These are the pieces I love the most as they bring to mind images of old witchy American jewellery makers, women who might work with their hands using limited tools to make things of simple beauty, that aren’t showy but are rather intended to represent a shared identity through symbolism. I guess that as someone of fairly humble beginnings and aspirations I’ve always loved that side of fashion and design, the aspect that isn’t about status or bling, but simply about stating visually that you share a certain heritage, interest or viewpoint with others who engage with your particular style.
Many of Megan’s stamped rings centre around mysticism, storytelling and womanly power in a tongue in cheek way. Her ‘this witch can swim’ ring nods to the struggles that women have gone through to reach this point of near-equality with a strong but humorous tone, while many of her designs reference narratives in popular culture that she identifies with. Her leather wrapped crystals act as talismans, which have a long cultural heritage of being used to inspire strength in the wearer are crafted with the historic meaning of the crystals used in mind. Overall Megan’s creations set her up as an eager storyteller. A designer who puts a strong narrative and sense of imagination at the centre of her creative endeavours. This, I feel is why I like her and her brand so much. She really has something to say and Phemonal Fern sucks you into her imaginative world leaving you wanting to dress yourselves up in her stories. Here we are being best witches in our Phenomenal Fern rings and necklaces. Check out her full collection here.