An Artist Speaks: Why Animal Jewelry is Important in Our Lives
About the Artist
I have a purpose as an artist, and that is to create animal jewelry that celebrates the bond you have for both your companion animals and (quite possibly) for the wild animals that share this planet with us.
When I was a little girl, I used to go down to the creek with my brother and collect frog eggs every spring. We'd bring them home, set them in our screened in porch and wait for the miracle to happen! Little curlycue tadpoles emerged, began to swim hungrily around the generous glass jar, and after a few weeks, grow tiny back legs.
The first thing I looked for after school was tadpole progress...the miracle that turned a tiny black fish-like creature into a teensy tiny hopping frog. It was a proud moment for me when I took that jar back to the creek and watched my small charges hop onto the bank and resume their wild life.
There were 4 children in our family, and my mother (also an animal lover) was a professional free-lance artist and encouraged our creativity. I remember Saturday mornings in the late 1950s sitting at the kitchen table with my siblings, all of us with blank paper and crayons in front of us. Coloring books were definitely discouraged. However, self-created, illustrated stories (including our own comic strips!) were heartily encouraged. Our mom assumed we would all become artists. She was a smart mom.
My childhood home, hung with original art and beautiful mid-century modern furniture was always shared by animals. My sister had a Dalmatian dog, and I had a tank full of tropical fish.
When I turned 12, Mom planned to present me with a beautiful white Angora kitten. She drew a lovely charcoal portrait of an Angora show cat to present to a local breeder (who was going to give us one of her kittens by way of payment.)
But the week before this kitten was to come live with us, my sister discovered a bedraggled tabby kitten in the woods behind our house. The moment I saw this meowing ball of striped and dirty fur, I was completely in love. I begged Mom to keep her as my pet instead. I didn't care if my cat had silky white fur! This kitten needed me and needed me now. Mom relented, and “Snifter” became a beloved member of the family for 22 years!
When I grew up, married and became a young mom myself, our family adopted another tabby cat. We named this one “Molly” and my two children adored her. Just about the time Molly joined our family I dipped my toes into the world of becoming a full-time artist. I joyfully combined my love of animals with my talent for creating jewelry and The Magic Zoo was born!
Since those early days of the mid-1980s, The Magic Zoo has grown and changed. But my focus on animals as a form of art has never wavered.
To me, animals themselves are beautiful beings. They increase the very quality of our lives. They may share our couch, or hover outside at our windows sipping from hummingbird feeders. They may trot beside us on a woodland trail, or, in the case of our wild friends, may dash away as soon as they spot us from behind a rock.
We share our planet and our home with so many species. And my small contribution is to honor that connection and that bond with the jewelry I create. May you enjoy wearing it or passing it on to someone you love.
About The Magic Zoo
The Magic Zoo has been around since 1989, when Merry first began selling her polymer clay animal jewelry in Northern California. Since that time she has expanded her line to nearly 2,000 different designs in pewter, sterling silver, bronze, enamel and 14K gold.
Merry's husband of over 44 years, Ed Rosenfield, is the other half of the business. He tends to the technical and web store details, leaving Merry free to create.
“It's the perfect partnership in every way,” Merry says. She thoroughly enjoys her life's journey with a husband she loves just as much (if not more) as on the day they married. For over 30 years Ed and Merry have worked together in The Magic Zoo to create a viable business for their family, traveling the country and exhibiting Merry's jewelry at art shows and veterinary conventions.
Merry works with several small artisan shops in New England to bring her original models to fruition. Her sterling silver, bronze and gold designs are cast using the ancient lost wax method. The pewter designs are cast a bit differently, but all are exact replicas of Merry's original designs, which she creates by hand in her New Mexico studio.
The enamel pieces are hand painted on fine pewter and cured using a special epoxy paint. Merry has worked with the same painter and metal casting studios for over 20 years.
Today, most of Merry and Ed's customers find them online. Themagiczoo.com is constantly updated with her newest creations.
Merry and Ed both love communicating directly with their customers, and invite emails and phone calls at any time.
The Magic Zoo
PO Box 377
Mountainair NM 87036
800 670 3703