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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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,
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?
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?
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”
NF: As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration
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.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and what made it special?
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
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
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
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
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.
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.