health pendants

298 posts


1″ w x 2″ h, found objects

This pendant goes back to basics and just uses some of the beautiful antique watch parts that I’ve collected over the years.  Like the lead in a stained glass window, the black epoxy frames and separates each piece.


1.25″ x 1.25″, glass

A very dear friend of mine passed away recently.  She was a mosaic artist who collected wonderful tesserae, and I made this pendant out of pieces from her collection.  While this doesn’t look anything like her work, I know that by using her materials this piece will make me think of her every time I see the moon.


1″ diameter, found objects

This week was my birthday, and I was so busy that I barely had a chance to pause to take a breath (or post a pendant), but being celebrated did make me take a few hours out to enjoy the people around me and to think about the passing year. This design made from seeds and clay beads is meant to reflect a calendar, with a colored bead marking each season of the year.

The Blues

1″ x 2″ glass and found objects

This pendant is a bit of a mish-mash with pieces of technology, beads, broken glass and pieces from polymer clay canes that I made when I was a child.  If “the blues” are things that make us sad, I like the idea of taking them all and forcing them into an itsy-bitsy frame where somehow, as a collection, they take on a new beauty.


1″ x 2″, glass and found objects

As a nod to Thanksgiving, this pendant is one of a series that includes pieces of glass from a plate with the image of the brilliantly-colored turkey, the peacock.  A sign of welcome in some parts of the world, peacocks remind me of the irony that our country celebrates one immigration story while at the same time making so many new immigrants feel unwelcome.

Fiddlers Three

1″x 2″, found objects

This piece has a very different feel than the last few that I’ve made.  A response to another touching poem that will be part of a collaborative exhibit in March, the pendant explores the imagery, the cadence and the facade of joy that nursery rhymes carry.


1″x1″, glass and found objects

One more pendant grew from this year’s Diwali sweets. The back side of glass that’s pressed with foil looks just like Indian burfi  with silver foil on top.  Cut into a diamond just like a burfi, this pendant will make me hungry every time I see it.


1″x 2″, found objects

Patina is the change on the surface of metal that shows its age. It can become darker, irregular and more colorful as it interacts with the chemicals around it. I’ve been watching how humans age lately, and thinking about how we also become more irregular and colorful over time. This pendant is a commentary on the passing of time that combines intentionally patinated metal, shiny beads that will never show their age, and antique watch parts, dark with patina.


1″x1″, glass and found objects

Sometimes the Diwali outfits at family celebrations are all about color, but this year they were all about shine. A little bit of metallic thread, a shiny mirror, a lot of rhinestones…and then simple fabric becomes amazing.  This pendant is about creating shine and eye-catching sophistication from less-than-perfect materials.

Pondering children

Based on a beautiful poem that explores individuality and the way that as parents we watch our children grow and become unique, this pendant uses found objects to represent a parent and three children.  The three children are similar, but their size, their perspective and what’s inside makes them each unique.


Glass, 1″x 2″

In the second of my poem-inspired pendants, here is “the tree, against the backdrop of the sky”.  You’ll have to come to our January opening to see the rest of the beautiful and moving poem.  I created the form of a tree by breaking a thick, frosted, mirror-backed piece of glass along the lines of a trunk, branches and roots.  The deep cracks are visible through the glass from many angles giving depth to what would otherwise be a flat design.  The colors and textures of the pendant sky, like the real sky, change as the light changes.

Cold Moon

1″x 2″, glass and found objects

I’ve been handed a wonderful project by my wonderful friend Tova Speter.  As she creates new work this year she’ll send it along to a poet friend of hers to create a poem inspired by her painting.  Then I will use each poem to inspire a tiny mosaic.  Here is my first piece, inspired by the beautiful words of “cold moon”.  Consider these a sneak preview of a show that we’ll hang in Needham in January where you’ll get to see the whole chain of inspiration.


1″ h, 3/4″ w, found objects

I found a bug (might have been a bee but it was black and very large) dead on the path that we were walking along.  It’s wings were iridescent, with all the colors of the rainbow.  I took the wings to find them a new home in this pendant.  Looking at the size of the wings makes me think about the enormous distance that we flew to get here.  Imagine flying across oceans and continents on wings this size!


1″x 2″, found objects

It seems strange that even being here in India, where the colors are intensely bright and varied, my pendants have been subdued.  But the flavors are definitely not subdued.  There’s such an amazing array of spices that nothing ever tastes dull, except, of course, the food that we cook ourselves.  This pendants uses beans, mustard seed and cumin seed to make a dense (and delicious) pattern.


1″ x 1.5″, glass and found objects

After the British conquered India, Hyderabad remained an independent princely state. It wasn’t until 1948 that Hyderabad became part of India.  Walking through the streets of the bazaar that surrounds the now empty Chowmahalla palace, the colors and sequins and beads and sounds are brilliant and somewhat overwhelming.  The stalls of glittery border ribbon and clothes call your attention, but among the stalls was a man quietly selling old coins, including this coin from the Hyderabadi princely state. In this pendant the coin and its history are central to design, lending a color scheme and guiding the form, but the glitter and gleam of the beads that surround it threaten to overwhelm it.  Like looking for the older history amidst the hustle and bustle and color of present-day Hyderabad, you have to look closely.

Diving for treasure

1″ x 1.5″, found objects

A swim in Lake Dennison helped break the heat yesterday, and at the bottom of the lake was a beautiful clam shell with a big hole through one side. The clam was missing, but little fish were still swarming to eat the small bits of meat that were left inside.  Once it had been cleaned by the little fish I took it home to enjoy.  I always feel like I’m on a treasure hunt at the beach.  With this pendant I’ve taken the lake’s treasure and turned it into my own. The design is also a mosaic nod to the long tradition of Wampum in Massachusetts.  

Kissing an Atom

1″x 2″, beads and found objects

It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea of things that are super small or super large.  I had a conversation with my daughter yesterday about the idea of atoms.  She said “you can’t kiss an atom because it’s teeny tiny” and then proceeded to kiss her hand, saying “I’m kissing lots of atoms”. We talked briefly about the size of the universe, but moved quickly on to people sizes, a relatively small range of tall people and short people.  This pendant is my nod to our imaginary travel through scales. If I were on the Magic School Bus, maybe kissing an atom would look something like this.

Spring Greens

1″ x1″, glass and beads

Maybe it’s officially summer already, but the weather this spring was so cold that the growing season is delayed and we’re still getting spring green mixes in our farm share.  This pendant is a color study of spring greens.  Not the dark greens of late-summer collards, but the bright spring greens of pea shoots mixed with the glimmer of new sun.

Park treasures

The littlest kids in my family spent the last week collecting treasures in every corner of Toconic state park, and I did too.  This is made from branches, stones and pieces of slag, a blue glass that’s a by-product of the iron smelting that used to be done in the region.


1″ diameter, found objects

I’m starting a new series of pendants, about travel, exploration, and the wonderful things that you can find along the way.  This is the first, a compass that will guide me.  Now, without any actual cardinal directions or a needle, the path it takes me on is going to be a winding road.  Come along for the ride!


It’s been a whole year. A pendant each week for a year, exploring the meaning of health, the components of health, and the practical things that make me feel healthy.  From ice cream to organization, they’ve been varied.  Above all, I’ve confirmed that making things is good for me.  The act of transforming one thing into another, the chance to play with ideas, and the calm and concentration that making each pendant required was healthy.  At the center of this pendant is the word “make”. It’s a command, a reminder.

Each of this year’s pendants has been a small statement and a short exploration that may grow into a larger work over time.  Now I have to decide what next year’s making project will be…


1”x2”, stone and glass

Every corner of the city has police directing traffic and half the streets are closed off to make space for construction of new train stations.  It feels chaotic and hard to get from place to place.  But at the same time I’m forced to explore new parts of the city and look around as I drive down streets I’ve never traveled.  The detours will take more time, but maybe they’ll bring me somewhere exciting.  This pendant uses stones to create a long, winding barrier. The smooth surfaces around them, made of iridized glass, are the exciting potential of the unexplored.

Music and Silence

2”x1”, found objects

Music flows through our days.  Every person in our family uses music in a different way, listening, playing, singing, dancing to it, drawing it.  There’s a beauty in the music and all of the connections, release and expression that it allows, but for me there’s also a beauty in the silence that follows.  This pendant captures both the music, through chain and antique watch parts that suggest the form of a guitar, and also the silence, through dark spaces in between the elements.


1″x1″, paper

Maybe it’s not a mosaic, but it’s still a health pendant…

Literacy and the impact that it has on health has been poking its head out again and again this week. I talked to a class about political murals and the way they’re designed to be “read” quickly and easily by using symbols instead of letters, I thought about the work I did at La Alianza Hispana on health literacy and the drawings I made in Guatemala to help low-literacy teachers collect data about their preschool students’ health.  All the while I’ve been watching my 4 year-old begin to piece together letters and connect sounds to each one.  He’s so lucky to have the time and the support to turn his curiosity into strong reading skills.  The pendant is made from a hologram of letters cut from the front of an old brochure.  The photo doesn’t do it justice, but different letters appear as the hologram turns and catches the light in new ways.