JUPITER, Fla. -- Robin Black Walder creates jewelry, and she starts by carving tiny sculptures from wax. Even though her scrapings are smaller than grains of sand, requiring tremendous control through a process she calls "pure surrender."
She has an extensive catalogue of sea life and spiritual symbols in Blackbird Jewelry, feeling a deep connection with the world around her. She's become attuned to listening to her body and noticing changes.
"The more you quiet your mind, the more intuitive you get, the more you learn to listen to what's really happening in the world and inside your body most importantly," said Walder.
Four years ago, Walder learned she had a ping-pong ball-sized tumor behind her right eye. She underwent a nine-hour surgery to have it removed and feared the brain surgery could harm her creativity.
"This eye didn't work at all for a while," she said, gesturing to her right eye.
Her focus and depth perception were altered dramatically for a period of months. She would patch one eye and force the other eye to focus. She learned to be even more aware of her body and her abilities despite the struggle with her eyesight. She found focusing on the present moment allowed her to improve.
Walder started helping organizations for children and the environment through her art, and the improvement continued.
Recently, she reflected on a piece she had completed years before she was aware of her tumor. It's something she calls "A Lady Living in Time." It shows a woman's face with a crack over the right eye, the time is 3:23 next to her cheek.
"She was kind of stuck inside a clock. And I happened to set the clock, because I was woken up every night at 3:23," said Walder.
The sculpture looks remarkably similar to her post-operation photos.
"It turns out I had my surgery on 3/23 in 2015," she explained.
That was the same time she had carved into the tiny piece.
"I didn't realize until after my surgery that I had been stuck in that time," said Walder.
Now, she embraces the surrender and focuses on each present moment.
"I kind of always think of it like being a gift," she explained.
You can find Blackbird Jewelry at the Palm Beach Gardens Farmers Market and other local events.