about the second nature project

Hi there! My name is Jody Dunphy. I make plantable jewelry for seed dispersal. The idea grew from a desire to foster kinship with nature and is inspired by many things including the fascinating forms and inner workings of plant life, guerrilla gardening and Michael Pollan’s writings. “A garden is a place where people can learn to use nature without harming it,” Pollan writes. My jewelry is a catalyst for all kinds of gardens and I hope it inspires people to learn more about their relationship within nature.

The materials in my work are carefully chosen. Although not typically used in jewelry making, the  primary material I use to make my work is paper. Paradoxically fragile and strong, two dimensional and three dimensional, paper provides an elegant, plantable casing for the seeds. All of the cord used in the jewelry is dyed with plants and the other materials are biodegradable, recycled or recyclable. The seeds are selected for their heartiness, aesthetic and environmental value.

In order to reach a diverse audience the jewelry is deployed through the gallery, retail, and social practice art events I call Dispersal Happenings. The people who wear and plant my jewelry become collaborators in the project and participants in the symbiotic process of seed dispersal. My intention is also to evoke wonder and awe by giving people the opportunity to witness the process of a beautiful plant growing from a tiny seed - because if you are inspired by nature, you are more likely to protect it.


About Jody

I grew up in the rural midwest, where hunting, fishing, gardening and swimming in lakes were regular activities. These experiences  embedded within me an innate proclivity toward the natural world, its rhythms and the beings held within it. I moved to the city to attend college and the shift in environment proved to be a defining experience that has shaped the direction of my artwork. Ever since I've been exploring the human/nature relationship in the things I make. 

Jody working in the paper making studio at the  Women's Studio Workshop.  Photo courtesy of  Women's Studio Workshop . 

Jody working in the paper making studio at the Women's Studio Workshop. Photo courtesy of Women's Studio Workshop

My mother, a former graphic designer, talented seamstress and all around crafty lady, gifted me with  skills for and magnetism to making. Other influences include: an internship and artist residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, contemporary art jewelry and the Earth Art and Social Practice Art movements. I'm also inspired by growing flowers, herbs and vegetables in my garden which is where some of the seeds I use in my jewelry originate.

The idea for the project was born during grad school  at Pacific Northwest College of Art + Oregon College of Art and Craft and was the focus of my practicum project.  In addition to making  jewelry and art under the umbrella of  the Second Nature Project, I exercise  my design muscle and help support the project and family with my work as a graphic designer.

Photo Credits

  • All jewelry photos, except bracelet and brooch photos, are by Jennifer Belschner. See more of her work at: jenniferbelschner.com
  • Main photo of "Branch" courtesy of Salem Art Association. 
  • Brooch photos courtesy of Ruth McKinney Burket