Yearly Archives: 2018

39 posts

Generations passed

1”x2”, found objects

It’s been amazing to watch my friends’ children turn into people with real personalities, interests, and goals.  As they grow I can start to see which parts of them are passed down from their parents, and which parts are all their own. When I think about my own greats and great-greats I don’t know exactly what’s been passed down to me, but I have some objects that give me a sense of who they were. This pendant is made from the tag that was attached to a pair of leather gloves that were bought (and never worn) by my great-grandmother.  They made their way to me, but don’t fit on my hands.  Clearly I didn’t inherit her bone structure, but maybe I have other parts of her hidden inside.

Equal opportunity

1.5” diameter, glass, found objects

Racism and sexism keep people from even being exposed to fields that might interest them, jobs that might offer better pay and educational paths that could lead in new directions. This pendant explores what it would look like if there were equal opportunity and equal exposure.  The gear at the center is like a merry-go-round that turns, letting people on and off at different stops along the way.  There’s some randomness in the system, but if the people on the merry-go-round are diverse, and they all have a chance to get off at any stop, then we’ll move closer to the diversity of the crowd that forms a border.


Aging Gracefully


1”x1.5”, ceramic, glass, found objects

Today, as I move through a milestone birthday, it’s clear that aging can happen with fear, with wistfulness, or with grace. I suppose there’s always a mixture of the three, but I hope grace can take the lead.  I chose the pieces in this pendant to match my own colors. The brown of my hair, now mixed with gray and silver, the purple that still peeks through, and the bits and baubles that I have to use to fix the parts of me that break now and then. All of these pieces, each one unique and imperfect, are set in an adhesive that I mixed to the color of my skin.




1”x1”, glass beads

I spent some time thinking about how best to represent joy, jumping immediately to bold colors and moving away from the calm blues and greens that I’m always drawn to. But what shapes represent joy? Joy spreads, joy spills, joy radiates, but joy certainly isn’t carefully placed and contained, so when it came time to actually make the pendant, what felt right was to spill the colorful beads and let them land as they wished, frozen in the unplanned shapes and bold color combinations that they happened to form.  After working on other pendants for hours with tweezers to turn individual beads on their sides to hide their holes it was liberating and joyful to leave each piece as it landed.


1”x1”, glass, ceramic and antique wallpaper

A few weeks ago, a friend stopped by with a whole truckload of antique mosaic tiles and told me their story. He’d rescued them from a warehouse that his family’s business is about to sell.  They’re from Italy, and must have come from a project 50 or 60 years ago. Near them in the warehouse are marble statues of saints that no one can quite explain.  A whole box of the tiles are curved corner tiles.  Turned upside-down they look like little books.  This pendant combines the tiles that arrived dusty and worn from the warehouse with pieces of wallpaper that was buried two layers below the surface in our house when we bought it to make a tiny book of stories. The stories aren’t easy to read, but they make me curious.


2”x1”, found objects

This pendant definitely bends the rules as far as what counts as mosaic, but since I made the rules for this project, I can bend them.  I’ve been trying for weeks to mosaic the image of a peacock feather, and it’s been super hard.  At the small scale of a pendant, none of them came out even resembling a feather. So, frustrated, I decided to just use a real peacock feather.  And, lo and behold, it’s more beautiful than anything that I could have done to copy it.  And, by happy coincidence, I get to post a pendant of a turkey feather on Thanksgiving!


2”x.25″, mirrored glass

The gray days are getting more intense, and every year at this time I wonder why anyone chooses to live in New England.  I long for sunshine, and I’m not convinced that the special light therapy lamp I have in the living room will help as much as a dose of actual sunshine.  This pendant repurposes mirrored golden glass into a sunny, light-bouncing necklace.

The Power of Rama and Sita

1”x1.5”, ceramic

What caught my eye about the plate that turned into this pendant was its small size, the sophistication of its edges, and its antiqued shine. Before I could break it and make it into something new and shiny my 4 year-old pinned a “note” to it that said I couldn’t break it because it was made in the woods by Rama and Sita during their exile.  The good news is that some version of the story of Diwali is sinking in for him, and that the plate does indeed have a special pull to it.  I broke a second plate, keeping the one he had connected to Rama and Sita intact.  This pendant is a nod to the beauty that comes with retelling stories through the generations and the dignity that objects can absorb from the history we ascribe to them.



1”x1”, vitreous glass tile

I’ve been thinking about how much privacy matters, and how it can be comforting to know that something will be kept confidential, but also about how being closed off can make it hard to deepen relationships.  As I made this pendant with dark strips of glass that suggested bars obscuring a view, I wanted to make the bars irregular, allowing small glimpses between them. What emerged looked a lot like tree bark, the tree’s way of protecting itself.

The Broken Glass Ceiling

1″x1″, mosaic with glass and paper

The glass ceiling is an image that’s always intrigued me.  A beautiful idea, being able to look up at the stars or the clouds, but also a barrier to reaching the sky.  As far as my professional world is concerned,  there’s a glut of women in both art and public health, but the most lucrative and respected positions are still held by men.  But I’m a glass artist, and I break glass all the time, so I’ve thrown a rock at this particular glass ceiling.  Made with paper set under clear glass and grouted to highlight the broken spaces, this pendant about challenging  unspoken rules is also an untraditional mosaic that challenges the expectations of what can become tesserae.

It’s time

mixed media, 1″x1″

It’s about time.  I’m finding myself setting my alarm clock and sometimes even using my phone as aback-up alarm.  And when I have a few minutes in between meetings it’s like a little breather, but I’m still watching the clock, counting the minutes until I have to do the next thing.  So this pendant slows time down.  Actually, it stops it.  With the hands of an antique clock set to mid-day it just holds time in place, relishing all the possibility that afternoon holds.

Ice cream

1”x1.5”, glass tiles

My mom always said that ice cream was the best medicine.  She may also have said that sleep is the best medicine, but ice cream is what stuck.  I’m not sure how it happened, but my kids now know to ask for ice cream when they’re sick, so this remedy has made it through at least one more generation.  The ice cream cone in this pendant uses the textured back side of a vitreous glass tile as a cone, and iridized glass for the background.  The cherry on top is a red glass bead.


Pocket vacation

1.5” diameter, mixed media

Friends of mine, all moms of small children, have been talking a lot lately about pocket vacations, the couple of minutes that you can find here and there during the day that feel like a break or a mini vacation. Maybe it’s a five minute shower, or a walk from the car to the grocery store.  I started to imagine what it would look like to actually have a vacation in your jeans pocket and be able to just glance in whenever you need it.


1”x1”, found objects

As summer draws to a close I’m seeing less and less bees, but I know they’re still out there, making honey and pollinating flowers. I was trying to explain to my daughter recently why it’s so terrible that the bee population is shrinking.  Our health is linked to the health of the bees, so this pendant celebrates both bees and honey, with imagery and colors that remind me of sweetness.


glass and ceramic1”x1”

I’ve been thinking about the ways that rain can force me to pause and take a little bit of a breath.  Whether it’s a soccer practice being rained out that gives us an unexpected hour and a half, or a rainstorm that means we choose to drive instead of taking the bus and we end up listening to a good story on the radio, it can create pockets of calm. I’m going to try my best to hold onto this idea as the sun fades and the winter sets in.   The ceramic in this pendant is broken to look like the small stones that get kicked up by the rain, and the glass and mirror catch the light like raindrops.

Go With the Flow

Mixed media, 1/2”x2”

Things change.  When I’m feeling secure I can adjust, change the plan, and still end up somewhere near where I wanted to be.  When I’m less sure I have a lot more trouble adjusting.  In this pendant the small beads flow like water around the large glass obstacles.


Glass and ceramic, 1/4”x2” 

On a walk through the woods during our camping trip this summer we found mushrooms of every color of the rainbow reaching up from the musty ground.  They were beautiful, but there’s something more elemental about the color green reaching up from the brown earth.  This simple pendant uses glass and ceramic tile, murky and imperfect like leaves and moss, to show the color progressions of brown earth to green growth.  I like the fact that this pendant is small.  Even small changes count.


mixed media, 1” diameter

For a country with an unbelievable number of rules (some spoken, most unspoken) about how to act, where to be, what to eat, what gifts should be given on each occasion and more, India has surprisingly few rules about color.  Here in New England we have a lot of rules, and they definitely extend to color.  My Grandmother always told me no white after Labor Day, houses shouldn’t be bright blue, and each wall should be painted in just one color.  In India the colors are loud, anything goes, and the brighter the better.  This pendant, named ranga, the Hindi word for color, with its hot pink center, gold-colored edge, silver-colored setting and colorful shiny border celebrates the bright loud colors of India and all the joy they express.

It all depends on how you frame it

1”x2”, glass, ceramic

It’s like the old adage, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  There’s always a mixture of smooth and rough.  What can matter most is how all the elements work together and what perspective we have on the whole mix.  In this case there’s a literal frame that holds it all together, making the messy pieces into something coherent.  A combination of amazingly beautiful glass glaze that came from a broken bowl, a few pieces of manufactured glass tile, and some blue slag (a glass by-product of old-time iron production) that I found in the woods near an old factory, this pendant uses teal and blue and an extra-wide frame to harmonize the disparate elements.

Wealth and Poverty

Found objects, 1” diameter

My daughter was thinking with me about these pendants last night because she made a beautiful and thought-provoking pendant herself. On one side it has a large group of small beads symbolizing the majority of people in the world who don’t have enough to meet their basic needs.  In a separate section are some medium-sized beads representing the group of people who have just enough, and in one corner a few larger beads represent the small number of people who have everything that they want.  As we talked about health she pointed out that everything is connected. One thing determines another, which in turn determines the next. I think about it as cyclical, with each piece eventually feeding back into the first.  In public health we talk a lot about cycles of poverty, and we know the health implications of wealth and poverty are tremendous.  This pendant continues to explore the idea of wealth and poverty as social determinants of health, sitting at the center of a web of connected elements.  The coin sits solidly at the center, contributing to many aspects of a person’s life, each represented by one of a ring of small triangles connected by metal rods.  These triangles are like arrows, pointing the way forward based on how much wealth is at the center.

Well being

1”w x 2”h, glass

Certain colors are calming, others are vibrant and energizing.  I used this pendant to explore the balance in my own life, right now, that creates a sense of well-being.  I found that it’s mostly the calm colors, greens, blues, purples, that form the core of feeling good, but there needs to be a small splash of energy, the yellow, to liven things up.



Stone, glass and beads, 1”x2”

At the cabins in Taconic State Park the days were warm and rainy, and the best part of the day happened at night.  The fireflies that we never see in the city came out, shimmering in the evening light while we sat around the campfire.  It was good to find a few minutes to relax.  This pendant is made from stones and glass in the many shades of dusky green that surrounded the fireflies by our cabin, and uses glass beads to catch the light in a way that mimics the fireflies’ glow.


Glass, 1”x1”

Sometimes it’s important to keep it simple.  No cuts, nothing fancy. And yet, even after I had found the right size tiles to fill a square bezel and decided to keep this one simple, I started to wander through a maze of color.  After about 25 color combinations I reached back for the first one I had put together. Blue and green will never be too simple for me.


Ceramic, 1”x2”

Why not wear stripes with polka dots?  Who says clothes and patterns have to be staid and somber?  I remember a conversation with my grandmother many years ago when she was horrified by the idea of leopard-print bed sheets and insisted that sheets should only be pastel.  I’ll continue to challenge the old rules when it comes to color, pattern and self-expression, and this pendant does the same.  With polka-dots, checkerboard, stripes, a splash of orange, and an explosion of yellow and green, the piece, made from sections of two different dinner plates, somehow comes together into one cohesive whole where each pattern and color is welcome.

Balance 2

Glass and found objects, 1” diameter

It hasn’t been very many weeks since the first pendant exploring balance.  Can you tell it’s important to my health?  In this disarmingly simple pendant design, a bright blue triangle of glass balances above a lighter, more textured blue triangle, on a bead that looks like a metal rod.  The rod is just barely off balance. The black glass that surrounds the blue triangles is both background and support, representing the systems and people that may be invisible at times, but keep things from being knocked off balance too often.