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Moving Towards Balance with Jewelry Designer and “Artivist” Elayna Toby Singer

Moving Towards Balance with Jewelry Designer and Artivist Elayna Toby Singer

Article's Author: Nile Fortner
Publish date: Saturday, January 26, 2019

Under the clouds, the tree branches are hues of brown of curling cream with deep chestnut, mocha, and rich mahogany playing in the armor that is the bark. Branches reach out like a hand to the sky, as beautiful as any new flower. They radiate like any spokes of a wheel, turning in time with Earth. The leaves, like church windows, glows brightly on sunlit days. As the day matured, the sun came to strengthen, illuminating the details that make it such art.

Like trees, we have the ability to breathe in, and breathe out, to stand before the world bare and in beauty. They do not run away and relocate to escape hardships. Instead, they make do with what has been provided for them naturally. They embrace challenges and remain rooted firmly in their place in life. Which is why jewelry designer and creative community catalyst Elayna Toby Singer’s Moving Towards Balance invites you to embrace your life with mindfulness, art, environmental awareness, and more.

Hosted by Boynton Beach Art in Public Places and during the Intl’ Kinetic Art Event, Singer’s Moving Towards Balance is an environmental art experience. Singer, who is an event organizer, also creates sculptures and other art pieces, to cultivate a connection between ourselves and our surroundings. The experience promotes personal and environmental balance, such as preserving and protecting native trees to help reduce climate change and to restore balance back to Mother Nature and ourselves.

With the help of Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, Singer and guest may plant their favorite mahogany tree, take a selfie in front of it with the hashtag My Mahogany Tree, and photos will be featured as a part of the Moving Towards Balance community art experience during the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium.

All who participate in Moving Towards Balance receive a “balance bag” that includes numerous items such as, Mahogany see pods to inspire native tree conservation and a mirror to encourage self-reflection.

While holding the mirror to encourage self-reflection, you might want to take a look at yourself in one of Singer’s exclusive jewelry pieces. Singer’s handmade jewelry has been described as “Art to wear that moves you”. Meaning that each piece of crafted jewelry plays into her philosophy of inner peace and some pieces have mineral stones and beads from around the world.

Check Singer’s kinetic sculptures and bangles that are more round than the sun, with each one warm to the touch. The crystals set in the silver metal sparkle in the sun. Necklaces, earrings, and other pieces glitter in the sunlight like a sun-kissed ocean lapping the sands.

Jewelry Designer and Artivist Elayna Toby Singer

In this interview between Nile Fortner and Elayna Toby Singer, Singer discusses her motivations, jewelry designs, inspirations, Moving Towards Balance and more.

NF: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer, environmentalist, and motivational worker?

ES: During a study break my first year in college my first necklace was born when I strung beads on dental floss. I was hooked immediately. The process was so calming, and I had a great time combining colors and textures. After graduation, I moved from Chicago to California and it was there I sold my first earring and necklace collections to a funky boutique in San Francisco’s Castro district. Ten years later repurposed and found objects made their way in into the compositions.

While working in public gardens in the mid-’90’s immersed in Mother Nature’s exquisite beauty I collected fallen seeds and branches, which I combined with beads, to create my first mobile. Over time my work grew in scale and complexity. Commissioned by Boynton Beach Art in Public Places in 2015 I had the opportunity to bring the community together to create, connect and celebrate a 90-year-old tree, temporarily transforming it into a kinetic sculpture with upcycled objects from the community.

In 2017 a curtain-like suspended room among trees twirled with community intentions for personal and environmental balance over a weekend. Both community creations were recognized with the First Places People’s Choice Award for Outdoor Sculpture as part of Boynton’s International Kinetic Art Biennale, highlighting public affection for community-engaged creative placemaking experiences.


NF: How do your jewelry pieces and art play into your teachings of mindfulness and more?

ES: In every piece I create, balance and movement stir from the center, inviting us to connect with our emotional, physical and spiritual core. Connecting one object to the next, both physically and visually, energy and awareness shift. Space between elements reminds us to breathe and calms our center. With each twirl and jingle spirit awakens, transformation occurs.

During Moving Toward Balance participants will make “Manifestation Mobiles” twirling with mindful symbolism, prompt them to take steps toward balance. The mirrors encourage self-reflection and bring the surrounding environment into focus, intention ribbons channel thoughts and actions, and Mahogany seed pods to inspire native tree conservation to help reduce climate change.


NF: What does your event Moving Towards Balance, artwork, etc. aim to say about you and our overall society?

ES: More than ever before it’s a daily challenge to feel a sense of balance in our individual lives. And with the increasingly extreme weather patterns across the world, we’re all more aware that Mother Nature is out of balance too. Just as one seed grows a tree, and multiple trees grow a forest, individual actions can collectively grow into a movement to conserve native trees, increase environmental balance and improve personal wellbeing. I believe that intentions are the message, and movement the messenger.


NF: When designing jewelry, and your larger scale moving sculptures, what materials work well together, which ones do not, and why?

ES: For their luminous and earthy energies my designs combine metals, wood, mineral stones, crystals and glass, and always there’s movement. Sometimes I mix synthetic materials such as plastic into compositions, but mostly natural materials beckon.


NF: What are some of the personality traits of the people who enjoy your jewelry?

ES: Since everything I create is a unique, one-of-a-kind piece, from the small-scale wearable kinetics to the larger moving sculptures for home and garden, people are drawn to adorn themselves and their environments with an Elayna Toby original surely share Oscar Wilde’s sentiment, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” My customers are eco-oriented, super witty and playful too, all which become apparent when they respond with delight as they recognize or correctly guess the reimagined, repurposed materials I incorporate into kinetic earring dangles. Current “guessing game” challenges invite potential customers to recognize floppy disk hubs in the new “Go for a Spin” collection, vintage snaps in the “Snap to It” collection, or candle wicks tabs in the “Wicked Good” collection.

Jewelry Designer and Artivist Elayna Toby Singer

NF: As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from?

ES: Finding natural and human-made objects ignites my creative process. A single object’s shape, color, and texture can instantly rouse my artistic vision around which a composition’s design and aesthetic are built. Presented in new contexts, each object’s intrinsic beauty is revealed. I’m especially attracted to circles. They invite us in, are windows to the beyond; simultaneously open and whole.


NF: What is it like to see someone wearing one of your creations?

ES: My whole heart giggles when I see someone wearing one of my creations. It’s pure joy to witness someone beaming, feeling good when they’re styling with an Elayna Toby original.


NF: What is your favorite piece you’ve created and what made it special?

ES: I have favorite “firsts” - pieces associated with a milestone breakthrough in my evolution as an artist. The first-first is “Sea Sun Sky” as it was the first time I combined collected fallen seeds and stems with beads to create my very first mobile, signaling the leap from jeweler to a kinetic artist. Another fave for its aesthetic and technical accomplishment is my first large scale moving sculpture “ReTooled” made with vintage tools and hardware. The first site-specific immersive gallery installation “Going Within” pushed me forward, as did my first public art community creation “Kinetic-Connections”.


NF: How do the event and your art stand out from other similar events?

ES: What sets Moving Toward Balance apart from other community art programs is its interactive participatory approach vs. the more typical opportunity for the community to only passively observe art. Moving Toward Balance is part of the national trend in community-engaged Environmental Art led by “activist artists” or “artivists” as I refer to myself. It prompts public participation and catalyzes community involvement toward social change. Moving Toward Balance offers participants fun collaborative art-making, and a chance to cultivate individual and collective well-being, a sense of community while connecting with like-minded people, an opportunity to focus on art and celebrate trees.


NF: What do you hope for people who have not attended anything like Moving Towards Balance and how do you want them feeling after the event is over?

ES: My hope is that as a result of being part of the Moving Toward Balance experience people will be inspired and empowered to steps toward achieving their intentions for balance, enabling them to build and shape their worlds in a way that brings more balance to themselves and The Environment. As Lao Tzu aptly said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

NF: What is your dream project and how do you plan on accomplishing that dream project?

ES: My vision is to work with communities, in places around the world, to creatively empower an individual and collective action toward personal and environmental balance; healing ourselves, our surroundings and each other. My diverse multidisciplinary education, experience, and body of work have prepared me for the global leap. Next step is to cultivate worldwide strategic partnerships with organizations, governments, and individuals with complementary missions.

Jewelry Designer and Artivist Elayna Toby Singer

Moving Towards Balance is scheduled to meet at Dewey Park located in Boynton Beach on Feb. 2nd and 3rd at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm on both days. To get in contact with Elayna Toby Singer you may email her at Elayna@ElaynaTobyArt.com. If you’re interested in one of Singer’s custom jewelry pieces and more, you may visit www.ElaynaTobyArt.com.

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