health pendants

99 posts

One Man’s Trash

1″ x 3″, found objects

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a tendency to re-imagine things.  There’s nothing I like more than looking through yard sales for junk that I can turn into special treasures, but right now coronavirus has made yard sales almost impossible, and more people are putting things out on the street for free.  This week’s finds included this assortment of hardware which was in a box along with a whole pound of solder!  As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  

Roses

1″ x 1.5″, found objects

I asked my grandmother what her favorite flower is.  She immediately said “rose”, then paused and said, “I’ve never actually thought about it before. No one’s asked me”.  But now she’s on record as a rose lover.  She’s trying to clear out her apartment to move to a smaller space and is working hard to keep what she loves while not cluttering the new space.  The enamel rose in this pendant was part of a necklace that she gave me to take apart. To highlight the part that she loves without cluttering the piece, I’ve balanced it with a blank triangle and some small pieces of copper.

Silver Lining

1″x 1″, glass

I’ve always been torn about the idea of finding silver linings.  It can help to find some small joy or comfort in what’s otherwise awful, but it also seems like a way to dismiss reality.  Maybe tarnished silver linings are a bit more balanced.  There have certainly been small joys in the time we’ve been forced to spend at home as a family because of coronavirus.  Extra snuggles, time-consuming baking projects, watching the garden grow and sitting in the hammock.  Maybe there’s a silver lining to George Floyd’s murder in the increased awareness of and response to pervasive racism, but the many deaths that it took to get here have certainly tarnished that silver.  This pendant is made from   silver-backed glass, giving it a silver lining, and the bezel is real silver, which will tarnish over time.  The silver is imperfect, and each piece of glass is a different height, making it much less uniform than it looks in the photo.

Sustenance

1″ x 2″, glass and found objects

My days revolve around food, trying to balance the timing and the nature of what I eat with what my body needs.  But food isn’t the only thing that sustains me.  Colors, the glowing greens of new sprouts, the sky as it changes throughout the day, the piles of mosaic tiles that are spread out on my work table and the patchwork of color in our home all feed me too.  I feel lost and small in a white room.  The “plate” in this pendant is the back of a watch, the “food” a color wheel of glass.  The tiny fork, knife and spoon have been floating around my studio for as long as I can remember, just waiting for the right project.

Day by Day

1″ diameter, found objects

Although the hours at home are creeping by, the days do pass, and it’s shocking to look back and realize that the school year is about to end.  The circle with numbers on this pendant is the date dial from a watch.  Like the upside-down numbers here, my days of the week and my days of the month have gone topsy-turvy. I can’t keep track of where we are anymore.  But the days march on and I know that soon enough the summer will also be over and we’ll see what next year brings.

Grandmother Clock

1″ x 2″, found objects

Over the last week or two the church bells in our neighborhood have started to ring again.  They even play a whole song at noon and at 6 PM.  I don’t know whether the bells had been broken or just silenced for the last few years, but listening to them was one of my favorite things about summer when we first moved here.  The bells always reminded me of the grandfather clock in my grandparents’ house in New Jersey.  And now, every time they ring, I think about my Grandma who’s living near by.  Through a little googling I learned that a grandmother clock is like a grandfather clock, but smaller. While this one is a wee bit smaller than a traditional grandmother clock, I think it still fits the bill.  The pendant is made from watch parts and small tiles. 

Stability

1″ x 2″, found objects

This week I’ve been focused on groups of three and the stability that they offer.  This pendant, made from the top of an antique hat pin, is much rounder and deeper than it looks from straight-on.  Even with silver triangles around the edges to balance the shine of the cut glass, it was too bulbous.  But by adding the three delicate silver stamen at just the right angle, it balanced.  I’ve been settling into a bit of a rhythm as we shelter in place, and perhaps now, in this third month, we’re finding a bit of stability.

Machinations

1″ x 2″, glass and found objects

The machinations involved in keeping the kids entertained while we also get some work done are intense, and it turns out that there’s a surprising win-win activity just waiting in our basement.  We have parts of old broken machines, motors, watches pumps and more.  The kids love to take them apart, and I love to build with the pieces!  Most of the tiny parts of this pendant are from small broken motors that the kids took apart for me for Mother’s Day.

Likeness

1″x1″, found objects and glass

You would have had to get very close to the hat pin that this cameo came from to really see the face, but if you did, you’d see carefully carved features.  I love cameos and old paintings because they make me wonder whether they were meant to be a faithful representation of someone or an idealized image.  What version of ourselves is captured?  How will we be remembered?  In this pendant the antique cameo is surrounded by pieces of aged mirror, offering a faded and distorted reflection of our own face if we get close enough to look.

Connections

.5″ x 2″, found objects

This pendant pushes the boundaries of what can be defined as mosaic, but as I pawed through my beads and findings to do some sorting and organizing I felt like the clasps have a special meaning right now as we try so hard to maintain connections without seeing each other.  The chain represents all the relationships that keep us healthy, and the clasp is what we do to keep them strong.

Iridescence

2″ x 1″, found objects

This week’s pendant is a creature.  Maybe not actually an insect, since I count more than 3 segments and less than 6 legs, but insect-inspired.  With green mirror-backed glass for wings, parts of a watch spring for antennae and legs from parts of a chain link, the whole piece emerged from the antique hatpin that forms the body.  Made from glass beads with an amazing sheen, the hatpin reminded me of dragonflies and the iridescent bees that we saw in India. I’ve always adored insect jewelry, so here’s my first pass at making some of my own.

Time Doesn’t Fly

1″ x 1″, found objects

When things are busy it can feel like time flies, and goodness knows things are busy in our house while school is closed, with each of us scurrying between zoom calls, trying to work, trying to cook, trying to arrange the next day’s schedule, all while trying to make the internet work smoothly.  But the hours when I’m responsible for childcare are looooooong.  Each minute reminds me of what it feels like to turn a bolt, where each full rotation only moves the bolt in a tiny bit further.  Slowly the hours creep by until it’s my turn to work again and then, in a flash, four hours have passed and I’m not nearly finished with what I needed to do.  This pendant replaces the hour markings on a clock face with tiny bolts, their threads moving along in my imagination slowly, slowly.

Internal temperature

1″x 2″, glass

Last year at the library near our house there was a collaborative “temperature scarf” on the table for people to knit.  Each day someone sat down and added a row to the scarf using a color that corresponded to the day’s high temperature.  With a little data visualization, a little craft and a lot of community involvement, our family loved the project.  Even though the signs of spring are here, I’m still bundled up with my heated vest, a scarf, a jacket and a hood. My daughter pointed out that if I made a scarf representing my internal temperature each day it would be all blue.  Made of cut glass tiles, this pendant is a small piece of what that scarf would look like.

Evolving Technology

1″x 2″, found objects

This, the second pendant made from a hatpin, explores the ever-changing technologies that we invent and dismiss.  While holding the hatpin I was looking into how to make cloth diapers for families that are having trouble finding disposables right now, and I realized how much diaper pin technology has changed over the last few decades. No more metal, nothing sharp, but still very easy to lose! Hatpins have pretty much lost their purpose here in the Northeastern United States, but they haven’t lost their beauty.  The other bits and bobs on this pendant, including a small screen from an old cell phone and other salvaged parts, remind me how far our technology has come, that we have videoconferencing and virtual family holidays only 15 years after I had to go across the street to the phone center to make hard-to-hear international calls from the Netherlands.

Testing the Marriage

1/2″ x 2″, found objects

It didn’t seem like a great sign when a glass bangle from our wedding broke into pieces this week, in the midst of being alone together in our house with two jobs, two screaming children and only a zoom chat or two to keep us sane. But I’ve taken the broken pieces, lined them up, and turned them into something that still has a sparkle.  The key element of the pendant is alignment, because social distancing has forced us to become a stronger couple by further aligning our schedules, our routines, our answers to questions from the kids and our rules about sweets.

Transformation

1″ x 2″, found objects

At the center of this pendant is the stone from an antique hatpin that belonged to my grandmother’s cousin, and then to her daughter, Sharon. I was recently given a whole collection of her antique hatpins, and I hope to turn them into beautiful and contemporary art.  But I found that everything in keeping with the hatpin looked stylish in the same old-fashioned way, so I’ll consider this a practical transformation (since we don’t use hatpins very much these days), not a modernization. I’m honored to have the opportunity to use the pins, and equally challenged by the difficulty of making something that can capture the memory and the spunk of the wonderful women who owned them before me.  Maybe the next one will be spunkier.  

Distancing

1/2″ x 2″, found objects

As we try to follow the advice to stay 6 feet apart from each other I keep remembering an exhibit that I loved at the Museum of Science when I was young.  It showed the size of the “personal space” that different cultures expected, and had circles drawn on the ground to represent the personal space from many different countries.  You could stand in the center of one and see how far apart people in England stand compared to people in Mexico or China.  Having lived in two different countries by then it made a lot of sense to me, and having moved around the world a lot since then I always think of it when people squish together on public bus seats or try very hard not to let their hand touch someone else’s elbow during rush hour.  This pendant is a visualization of the rings of space that we each have around us.  At the same time that it feels isolating, I’m trying to find what’s beautiful in defining our own personal space.

Glimmers

1″ x 2″, found objects

The beautiful thing about glass is that it looks so different in different lights.  This pendant is made from glass shards from broken bottles that I found along the Charles River.  They’ve been scuffed by shoes, buried in mud, and lost most of their glimmer, but in the sunshine they still catch the light.  Set in the black adhesive of the pendant they’re dull again, but tiny glass beads reflect the light even indoors, mimicking the tiny glimmers of light that helped me find these treasures along the river.

Stockpiling

1″ x 2″, found objects

In this strange time of Coronavirus preparedness, we’re being encouraged to gather enough food for two weeks of quarantine.  As I looked through my cabinets to check on our stores of dry goods and calculate how long they would last, I thought about the way that many Indian women wear gold jewelry as a way to own something of value that doesn’t belong to their husband and to keep it close and protected while also appreciating its beauty.  Here’s a current-crisis interpretation of wearing what’s valuable to us, made of beans, rice, quinoa and corn.

Honey-Makers

1″ x 2″, beads and glass

This pendant tries to capture a poem that held many ideas, but spoke to me about the treadmill that we’re on, and about how much latitude we might really have to choose what to create.  Like bees in a hive we’re all busy busy busy and then what we have to show for our work  can be sweet, can be nourishing, but is fleeting; food for the next generation.  While honeycombs are geometrically perfect, this one is not.  It captures the essence of the hive structure but was made by a very human hand, not programmed for the perfect architecture of the hive.   But when it moves it shines, and offers a different kind of gold.

Bloom Where You Grow

1″ x 2″, found objects

Captured in the lovely prose poem that inspired this piece is the overwhelming power and beauty of the bloom of life, and the equal, if less overt, power of the other stages; the seed with its potential and the memory with all it carries. The pendant uses  found objects to mirror the vibrancy and intricacy of the blooming “bejeweled” bottom with the delicacy and simplicity of the single gem shining above.  The continuity of colors and materials shows that the the top and bottom are are one and the same.  

Sprouts

1″ x1″ glass and found objects

Visualizing another gorgeous poem, these colors and shapes say spring.  This pendant finally offered me a way to use millefiori, the flower-shaped sliced glass cane, as flowers!  But my favorite part of this composition isn’t the flowers, the stones or the moon-bead, but the tiny lines emerging at the bottom like new sprouts from the earth in spring.

Homecoming

1″ x 2″ glass

This pendant responds to a poem that beautifully explores the many reasons that we feel compelled to move.  We travel far and wide to be safe and comfortable and loved.  All made with glass cane, the colors and shapes on the bottom are separated and searching for the place where they will be welcomed. 

Chocolate and Caramel

1″x1″, glass

I can’t believe I made it through a full year of health-related pendants without making a chocolate-themed one, but better late than never!  Here it is, in honor of the chocolate-making class that I get to take today!  Glass has a strange way of looking like chocolate. A long time ago I made a set of flameworked beads in the shapes of chocolates, and this pendant is like the raw material.  Split glass smalti looks to me like rich chocolate, crunchy peanut butter and caramel just waiting to be turned into a tasty treat.

Falling leaves

1″ x 2″, glass

This pendant is an interpretation of one more beautiful poem that will be included in the upcoming group show “Translations” opening March 8th in Needham (see events list for more details).  I chose the colors to reflect the hues of fall, with the reflective, glowing quality that the evening sun can give, and placed the rough-cut edges of the black glass up to show the irregularity and variety that I love as I watch leaves floating down to the ground.