health pendants

289 posts


1″ x 2″, found objects

It’s the imperfections that offer beauty and depth.  There’s a reason that we’re most interested in the four-leaf clover than all the thousands of three-leafed ones.  At first I looked at this pendant and was frustrated by the marks I’d left in the adhesive as I placed the beads along the edges.  But they create shadows and balance the manufactured perfection of the teardrop charm.  And in the middle, the gem still shines, which is what it’s really all about.


1″x1.5″, found objects

It’s been icky and drippy outside. April snow puts me in a foul mood. But at least the water and ice streaming down the windows looks pretty, and I’ve decided to lose myself in the beauty of the weather to distract myself from the shivering and splashing.

Organization III

1″ x 1.25″, found objects

I’m back to organizing.  Setting up a studio/gallery space in the wonderful  SoWa Mosaics kept me busy this morning, and I’m looking forward to many more hours of putting things in the right places.  And here, on a tiny scale, is some more organization.

Five more minutes!

1″x.75″, found objects

There’s nothing I want more right now than just little more time.  Five more minutes to get the email written, five more minutes to sweep up the scraps from the floor, five more minutes to rest before the day starts in earnest.  April doesn’t seem like it should be the busiest month, but somehow it always is.

Stories and Gifts

.5″ x 2″, gifted objects

I’ve been helping to clean out the studios of two different artist friends who passed away, and handling their materials makes me think about the collection that I’m amassing of gifts that I’ve been given for art.  Bits of broken jewelry, glass collected from a beach, beads from friends’ travels, a slate roof tile that slid off a neighbor’s roof… each story makes the object more special, and the stories find their way into each pendant.  But in using the materials from  friends who aren’t there to explain them,  the old stories are lost and I have to make new ones, making their memories my own.


1″ x 1″, glass and found objects

I have a love/hate relationship with boxes.  They organize, they capture, they categorize, they store.  But they also obscure and constrain.  Today’s pendant is a box.  Is it confining?  Comfortable? When should we settle in and feel held by the boxes we’re in and when should we push against their boundaries?

Jumping through hoops

1″ diameter, found objects

It’s not often that my kids come home with stories of learning something really practical at elementary school, but yesterday I heard about a game they played in gym where they had to jump through hoops to move forward. Now THAT is training for real life.

Scales of Justice

1″x1.5″, found objects

The justice system isn’t feeling very just lately.  This isn’t a recent change, but every few weeks I hear about one more case that’s being tried, reconsidered, thrown out, or publicized in a way that feels wrong.  I wish there were more transparency and a lot less systemic injustice at play, an easier way to peer into the inner workings of the justice system and say “there! that little cog is the problem, let’s fix it!”


1″ x .75″, found objects

I’m not sure how many times I’ll make pendants that look like shields, but it keeps happening.  I wish I could give them out as protective charms to all the people in the world who need them.  I like to think that all the bits and pieces that people give me, or that I collect on my travels, become talismans.


2″ x .5″, found objects

Art deco always reminds me of the buildings in Chicago and New York, with stunning angles and detail when you take a moment to look up past the retail level. And here cuff links turned into a tiny art deco display. The gem, the original star of the show, isn’t important anymore in comparison to the power of the angles and layers of the usually-hidden backs of the links.

Ancient Moon

1″ x 1.25″, found objects

We’ll stay in space this week, but this time we’ll explore the moon. I’ve been turning drum heads and oreos into moons at a school, so everything is looking like a moon.  This pendant has a bone moon, a set of orbiting bodies, and a silver halo.  And it’s all showing its age.

Outer Space

1″ x 1.5″, found objects

I’ve been reading some extremely bizarre young adult science fiction, which makes it seem perfectly reasonable that a golden orb, flattened and pierced, would float by.  And the sky’s been cloudy the last few nights, obscuring the moon and anything else that might choose to swing past Earth.  So here’s what I’m imagining I’d see if I looked up.


1″ diameter, found objects

I played with epoxy resin this week, filling molds and filling things that aren’t molds (like this watch back).  But the resin set at the same time that we had a freeze, and now all I can see when  I look at the clear resin is the ice that’s glistening beautifully but keeping my car doors from closing, my windshield wipers from moving, and my feet from being able to walk without slipping.


1″ x 1″, found objects

Someone stopped by the studio this week to pick up broken vessels that she could use with a kintsugi kit that she’d been gifted.  It felt so nice to pass along the pieces to someone who would work faster than I would to give them a new life.  And in the spirit of making the broken more beautiful than the whole, this pendant celebrates the spaces created by a rift.


1″x1″, found objects

As the year begins I’m diving deeper into the things I’ve been working on for the last many months.  Finding what’s on the bottom of my packed hardware drawers, pulling apart the welder to figure out why it’s broken, and thinking about the why’s and wherefores of the arts integration projects that are coming up. It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo, but the springs and the central glass bead on the pendant are deep, rounding out the piece and helping the light shift as it moves.

Resilience II

1″ x 2″, found objects

When I work in prevention, one of the assets that we try to strengthen in kids is resilience.  I love the idea that it’s not our strength that keeps us going, but our ability to roll with the punches, change course and move through our troubles. And I explain often to stained glass students that what makes a traditional leaded glass window stronger than a copper-foiled one is the lead’s flexibility. It can bend enough to withstand a gust of wind or a temperature differential.  The triangle of this pendant reminds me of puffed-out chest, strong and confident, but what gives the pendant its real strength is the little moving bit at the bottom that will swing and adjust as the wearer moves.


.75″ x 2″, found objects

I don’t want things to stay static, but it would be nice to feel like the world is moving forward steadily, improving and becoming more peaceful more healthy and safe.  But instead it feels like a pendulum, swinging one way for a few days, or months or years, and then right back.


1’x.75″, found objects

This week marks one more trip around the sun for me.  Every time I sit down to make a pendant about time I end up reaching for a gear.  The careful turning, the cycling, the even divisions that remind me of days and months and years all just scream TIME IS PASSING.  And in this design the screws might be there to mark the bright spots in the year, or to catch the gear and try to slow time down just a bit.

Riveting II

2″ x .5″, found objects

This week the holiday craft season began in earnest, with a head-spinning number of craft fairs and markets.  I participated in a few, and one of my favorite parts of selling my work is watching people find a piece for themselves. They fixate on one, look around at others, and almost always go back to the first one they found.  This piece, Riveted II (of course made with rivets) reminds me of the power each piece has to capture someone’s eye.


1″ x1″, found objects

Diwali and Thanksgiving are the two holidays when we gather with all of the nearby relatives. They’re the time when the generations come together at one table, and there’s a chance to maintain and build traditions.   This year the Thanksgiving meal was down to three generations for the first time in 13 years. We were lucky enough to have many Thanksgivings with great grandma, but this year the grandparents were the elders.  In both families, the grandparents presided, the next generation waited in the wings, nestled into the traditions that brought us all together, and the kids are big and loud, going in their own directions, questioning, wandering, not yet making the shape of a generation that will hold the others in place.

Photo Corners

1″ x 1″, found objects

I have a few old photo albums that still have sticky photo corners to hold the photos in. Some of the photos have slipped out, leaving empty corners and a blank space that must have been filled with something important. I loved the way the corners made the photos look official, and chose them among all of the other images to be displayed. I also loved that they allowed old-fashioned cropping. I could cut the photos down to share just a section, and place the corners to make any shape. These days we barely print photos, no less display them carefully in an album. If I made a paper album now, I’d want to show off each picture with these golden corners.


1″ x 1.5″, found objects

I don’t think it’s a dreamcatcher that I need right now, but rather, a real-life catcher. I’d like something that’s able to see what’s coming and filter out the bad, so that the real newsfeed is full of kindness and joy, not death and destruction.

Just about right

2″ x .5″, found objects

While I was working on this pendant I thought it should be called “not quite right” because it was so hard to line up the beads and straighten the metal pieces between them.  Each time I’d adjust one thing it would throw off all of the others. But with a bit of time and distance I’ve softened my judgement and feel ready to call it “just about right”.  Still not quite right, but I’m choosing to focus on the parts that worked, not the parts that didn’t.  I’m going to try to adopt this same attitude for the rest of the week.

What’s Inside

1″ diameter, found objects

I’ve always been fascinated by what’s inside things. Tiny drawers,  the animals we explored in dissection club, books and jars. What I love about it is that it’s always a surprise.  Even the clear jars hold so much more than what you can see through the sides. It’s spelunking and science class all in one. This pendant represents the complexity of what’s inside. The feelings and thoughts and blood vessels of a person, or the gears and circuits and tiny crystals in watches.


1″x .75″, found objects

Last week’s pendant had real beetle wings, and this week’s accidentally turned into an abstracted beetle. Once I combined the iridized beads and the ridged piece of an old bracelet there was no denying it’s beetle-ness.  Those are certainly legs.  And antennae.  When I lived in Chile I had the opportunity to paint a mural with a non-representational painter and I found it so difficult to move beyond abstraction to non-representational work.  A circle was representational.  A line could be.  My brain couldn’t really process what wasn’t.  Today I’m fine with that.  I’ll hide meaning in my shapes and let you find some too.