Karen Earl - Sun Dance Ring

Artist: Karen Earl, Washington
Materials: sterling silver, vitreous enamel, glass beads, acrylic enamel
Size: 8
Dimensions: 1 3/8" x 5/16"

Artist Statement: The summer solstice – the longest day of the year – occurs on June 21st in the northern hemisphere. For thousands of years, cultures around the world incorporated this event in their structures, rituals and celebrations. Multiple societies erected monoliths, such as Stonehenge, to capture the first beam of light from the rising sun on this day. Sun worshipers created altars to their solar deities – Ra, Horus, Aten in Egypt; Amaterasu in Japan; Helios in Greece; Lugh, Belenos and Grannus are ancient Celtic sun gods, as well as Sulis, the sun goddess. When the Aztecs sacrificed people to Huitzilopochti, victims were placed on a sacrificial stone. The priest would cut out the heart and, while still beating, the heart would be lifted towards the sky to honor the sun god. The Sun Dance was and still is one of the most important religious ceremonies held by Great Plains Indigenous people in America and Canada. After two years of restrictions, cancelled celebrations and much divisiveness, I was inspired to create a fun and festive ring infused with bright color, movement, and sound. I want to bring back the pleasure of simple celebration void of complicated logistical planning, controversy, and social / political comment. Universally, the sun symbolizes life, energy, positivity, clarity, healing, confidence and more. The sun mosaic on my ring is held and raised up by two hands. The kinetic pieces represent the sun’s energy and when shaken, create a tinkling sound adding to the feeling of celebration and dance. All this history aside, isn’t celebrating the sun one of the joyous rites of life?! So, to honor the sun, raise your arms, shake your hands, and greet it with a smile. Another day has begun!

Artist Bio: My professional career was interior architectural design creating hotel and restaurant interiors. When business slowed during the recession in 2009, I signed up for a metal working, jewelry class and discovered a new passion. I could apply my design and engineering skills to a totally different scale. My interest now lies in learning and exploring new techniques, material combinations and applications of vitreous enamel. Social and political subjects pique my interest as well as abstracting forms found in nature and the built environment.

Watch a video of this ring HERE!

This ring is part of Battle of the Rings: Ring Smackdown 2022, an online exhibition and competition. Shop the entire collection HERE, view the matches HERE, and learn more HERE.

Rings from this collection will ship or be available for pick up after the competition concludes on April 29.