Freestone Peach Bangles

I was on Instagram scrolling through my feed three weeks ago, and it sort of went like this…cute, ‘like’…funny, ‘comment’…still scrolling…why did they post that?!…still scrolling…Holy Cow–what am I looking at?!? (almost drop phone)

freestone peach bangles via liz kantner
This is the image posted on Liz Kantner’s page of two of the most unique bangles I’ve ever laid (virtual) eyes on! The designer is Freestone Peach, and I had to find out more!

Joel Adam Baynard, the master behind Freestone Peach, did not set out to become a jewelry designer. In fact, his path to getting here has been quite diverse. Born and raised in North Carolina, he had creative relatives in the Blue Ridge Mountains who quilted, shaped stone and turned wood. He has served as a US Naval officer, lived in Japan four times (He’s fluent in Japanese!), has worked in healthcare construction and administration, and went to business school at Wake Forest University. Who knew that this would be the path to selling his first piece in August of 2013.

 

Cherry wood with turquoise, azurite and malachite
Cherry wood with turquoise, azurite and malachite

While interning for a construction company in Tokyo in 1999, Joel learned about the Shibui aesthetic, “…which consists of seven qualifiers: Simplicity, Implicitness, Modesty, Silence, Naturalness, Everydayness, and Imperfection.” I had to read this list many times for it to start sinking in. I like this philosophy a lot.

He strives for Shibui in his creations. He told me, “I think second chances and relationships are the heart of my work. I use flawed pieces of wood, scraps that would be burned, and fruit trees that are abandoned to infestation. The wood could not stand alone, typically next in line for the burn pile. The stones don’t make the cut as most cull through them. I take these two imperfect materials and marry them together. The wood provides a darkling and elegant structure that holds the stone together. The gems fill the emptiness of the timber with an astringent spontaneity and new life. Silent, simple, unobtrusive beauty.” Wow…I’m floored by this description.

 

Raw materials in which he sees the beauty that others may not
Raw materials in which he sees the beauty that others may not

Love this behind the scenes look at his workbench.

freestone peach behind the scenes
Currently based in Rutherford County near Asheville, NC, Joel sources most of his wood “from the peach orchards across the upstate of South Carolina (Greenville, SC) to the apple orchards in Hendersonville, NC, and in the forests around there as well.” I’m moved how he maintains his roots in his art.

Here is a bangle made from the ivory wood of a spalted apple tree. I particularly enjoy¬†the unique color of the wood, don’t you?

freestone peach bangle using ivory wood from a spalted apple tree
Compare this to the deep hue of black walnut, with apatite and copper. Stunning and dramatic.

freestone peach black walnut, apatite and copper bracelet
The perspective in this photo is fantastic –how the light shines through the apatite and makes is look almost other-worldly.

freestone peach apatite bangle
He shared this piece on his blog, which he says reminds him of his grandmother’s quilts. I can certainly see it!

freestone peach bangle
Scrolling through all his work, I’m especially drawn to this one, in black walnut with aquamarine.

freestone peach black walnut and aquamarine bangle
I cannot wait to one day see these bracelets in person. But for now, I’ll get my fill through the amazing images on Instagram. Joel, thank you SO much for the interview, and I can’t wait to see what you turn out next!