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Counselor's jewelry draws on mythology

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Gryphon Stone's one-of-a-kind jewelry incorporates stones such as calcedony, turquoise, garnets, carnelian, opals and pearls.Christina Fowler-Thias’ classmates in graduate school dubbed her a gryphon.

The legendary creature from ancient Greece has the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. It is known, among many things, to guard treasure and priceless items.

“The gryphon is part of the story of my heritage,” Fowler-Thias said, referring to her English, Irish and Scottish familial history. “It represents strength and wisdom and protection and a love of beautiful things. ... It’s a creature that I can identify with.”

The longtime Rosemont Ridge Middle School counselor has drawn inspiration from this mythical creature to name her line of handcrafted jewelry — The Gryphon Stone.

Fowler-Thias is an Oregon native and 20-year resident of Oregon City. All her life she has been attracted to stones, shells, crystals, science and nature. As a child, she remembers filling garbage can lids with flowers in color patterns.

The interests of her youth have become the passion of her present life and are expressed in both the jewelry that she makes and through her occupation as an educator.

“I see the world probably through the life of an artist,” she said. “My work as a counselor is really soulful work, so they melt well together. ... Making art mimics what I do in my work (at school) because it’s all about understanding life and responding to the environment and being curious and problem solving. I do that with people and when I approach pieces of art.”

Fowler-Thias has worked many artistic mediums, but a class more than 20 years ago at the former Sophia Center at Marylhurst University led her to wire work, which led her to bead weaving, which led her to jewelry making. She was hooked.

“Jewelry lends itself to a mix of media — painting and watercolors and metal work, nature, found objects — all of that can be part of the jewelry. That’s why I love it so much,” she said.

Each piece of jewelry she creates is one-of-a-kind. The jewelry incorporates stones such as calcedony, turquoise, garnets, carnelian, opals and pearls. Fowler-Thias uses wire work, silver work, metal clay and a variety of off-loom bead-weaving techniques to incorporate the meaning of the stone, the story behind a person and the meaning behind each color.

Her jewelry is also interwoven with affirmations. Some affirmations she creates herself. Others are commissioned by a customer into the piece of jewelry. Some jewelry is meant to remind the wearer to act with grace. Other pieces of jewelry support the work of a midwife.

“When you wear jewelry, it energizes you,” Fowler-Thias said. “I make jewelry around affirmations as a way to remind people of what makes them feel good or of a goal they created for themselves.”

The Gryphon Stone jewelry can be found at Grapevine Graphics & Picture Framing at 210 Jefferson St. in Oregon City.

To purchase jewelry online, visit etsy.com/shop/thegryphonstone.

For more information, visit thegryphonstone.blogspot.com.




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