I have vivid childhood memories of braiding tall summer grass, green ivy strands; hunting for broken string, soda tabs, sea glass, pebbles, anything I could get my hands on that I could turn into something wearable. Dried, pressed, woven mementos of my adventures; trinkets to honour nature and the gifts she offered to my young witch’s heart.
My love of jewelry and connection to nature began very early in life, and stayed with me into adulthood. I see the potential for design in everything- magic in the mundane- from the way rainwater gathers patiently at the point of a leaf, to the near imperceptible but inevitable billowing of a storm cloud on the horizon, bright and full of scallops and scrollwork that echo in the curves of her cousin ocean far below. These are the things that inspire me, the things I want to honour in the work I create and the jewelry I wear. (I also just really, really like shiny things… there’s a reason my friends call me Magpie ;} )
It’s no surprise to me that when I came across Dixi’s jewelry, I fell in love. There I found the same bond with nature (and shiny things!) that I held in my own heart, and not only that, but the genuine care and appreciation that the shop showed to all their customers really drew me in. They call us family, and they treat us like family. That’s a business model I stand by, and one I definitely want to support!
By then I’d been designing and selling enamel pins on my own for about three years, and was considering adding some jewelry into the mix. When Dixi announced their talent scout competition, I was beyond excited- this was my sign! My mind overflowed with ideas. I posted early concepts to my Instagram which were met with love and enthusiasm from followers and Dixi fam alike.
Hours and hours of research and sketching and dreaming brought us to Regina Aurelius- the Golden Queen.
Inspired by the triumphant laurel crowns that once wreathed the temples of emperors and champions, I wanted this set to feel regal and powerful, but also delicate. The rings, especially, I hoped to create a unisex appeal, something that could suit any gender or any occasion. We all have our moments of triumph, from grand awards, to simply getting out of bed in the morning, and every single one of those moments deserves to be celebrated no matter how small.
Mere minutes after posting my sketches to Instagram, I found a DM from Shop Dixi asking for my email. Excited and nervous, details were provided, and not too long after that I received an email from the queen herself, Amy, saying she wanted to pull me from the competition:
“We absolutely love your Dixi Talent Scout designs and would love to proceed to produce some of your pieces, however, I genuinely think you have more to offer us!”
A few joyful back-and-forths later found me as an officially commissioned designer for my favourite jewelry company. I felt humbled and amazed beyond words. A first for both Shop Dixi and myself, we moved on to discuss a special theme that is near and dear to our hearts (and many of you reading this too, I imagine). There we planted the seed that would become the sleepy fox collection.
I dove back into my research for inspiration and, running with a similar laurel/wreath motif, drew up some rough sketches for approval. Based on feedback from the Dixi team, details were refined and the final artwork produced.
It’s our adorable, irresistible, loveable trickster from fable and fiction, fluffy and soft and oddly vulnerable when sleeping. The fox theme was a special request from Dixi for charity purposes- illegal fox hunting is still a very big problem in the UK- they gave me free reign in terms of design so I was eager to come up with something really special that would be worthy to promote such an important cause.
The theme I settled on was “cherish and protect”. The greatest act of trust we can offer is to sleep in another’s presence. This is especially true of animals, whose nature is to always be on guard for predator or prey. The sleeping foxes in this set are entrusting us with their safety, asking us to protect and cherish them- not just the pieces of jewelry, but their real life counterparts as well.
I did several sketches and variations… and thanks to the wonderful skill of the mold making team, we were able to make all of them a reality.
Towards the end of summer I got a few glimpses of early product photos… to say I was overjoyed is an understatement. This happenstance opportunity that felt like a dream became a reality then. Then, just a few short weeks ago I got to hold the final products in my hands, wrapped with love and sent across the pond just for me. As I poured over each piece with admiration I could feel such joy radiating from them. I could tell how much care was put into their creation, just as much as I put into their design. And the faithfulness of the physical pieces compared to my art is just amazing. If you’re here reading this I’m sure you know the high quality standards that Team Dixi stands by. Please trust that I say this without bias: the quality and attention to detail on these sets is Next Level and I’m so in love with how every single piece turned out!!
It’s been an extreme honour and amazing experience working with such a supportive, loving team to bring these treasures to you on Christmas Day. Thanks to Dixi and you, my fellow pack, I made it through a personally very difficult and scary year, and discovered a new passion for jewelry design that I will continue to explore.
As 2019 finally draws to a close (and as you peruse the new winter collection), I encourage you to look back over the year for your moments of triumph. From big to small, celebrate how far you’ve come. Even if all you did (much like me) was just survive the year, holy cow we made it! High five! My hope for this laurel-filled collection is to serve as a reminder that you, yes you, just the way you are right now, are precious and worthy of protection, celebration and love. <3
Hugs n’ howls,
Chaser “Magpie” Spaeth xoxo
Find Chaser on Insta @aseriesofsteps
To honour the release of our special collaboration we have donated £1,000 to The League who, amongst other things, fight to protect foxes, hares and deer from illegal hunting which takes place far too frequently across the UK. Please visit their website here to view more about what they stand for and any petitions you can sign your name to.