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287 posts

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.


1″ x 1″, found objects

I wanted this pendant to play with the contrast between shiny and dull, and the materials were easy to find in my stash.  A beetle wing for the shiny, and tiny pieces of slate to show off the beetle wings’ high shine.  When I looked at the wing pieces I thought the wing looked “metálica” and then I thought “I haven’t thought about Metallica since High School!”  And now, no matter how hard I try, I can’t look at the pendant without hearing Heavy Metal in my head.

Junk Drawer

1″x1″, found objects

You all know by now that I don’t actually think very many things are junk, and I tend to collect bits and pieces of things that look interesting or strange.  I like to sort them and organize them when I’m in the mood, but I also like the happenstance of things ending up next to each other in a pile or on a table of supplies. I see unexpected color combinations, I notice something about one texture relative to another, and the shapes play well together.  That’s the beauty of a junk drawer.  I can see each object in a new way.


2″ x .5 “, glass

It’s not fall yet, but it’s falling.  The weather is chillier, one or two leaves have landed on the ground, but next week will be warm again, and the trees haven’t turned.  I’ve plugged in my heated vest, and I’m  preparing.  This pendant is also getting set.  Warm golds and some darks, but none of the vibrant colors that we’ll start to see in a  few more weeks.

Skirting the issue

1″ x 2.5″, found objects

I’m involved in a lot of tricky conversations through my work.  Certain topics are hard to discuss, and one of the ways I like to use art is to create spaces where we can talk about hard things. But other times I’m just not in the mood to talk.  Head down, back to work. It’s nice to dive into something mindless and mundane, like sorting, carrying, and piecing, instead of chewing through community-level challenges.  The bottom of this pendant reminds me of a skirt, and of the skirting that people put around the bottom of a bed to hide all the dust bunnies underneath.  All of that dust is still there, but we can hide it for a little while.

Flight of Fancy

1″ x 3″, glass and found objects

I sat down this week thinking about the chill in the air (sometimes) and how close Diwali, Hanukkah and the Christmas holidays are. So it was with simple, easy-to-sell for the holidays pendants in mind that I sat down with my materials. But once again, the materials took me in their own direction. Didn’t this piece look Egyptian? Glass like scarab wings would look lovely with the gold. Ooh! There are holes. I’d better hang someting from them! And so, this pendant joins a collection that are just flights of fancy. No deeper story, just fun to make.


2″ x 3″, found objects

Since having COVID more than year ago, I’ve been struggling with fatigue.  When I’m awake I daydream about napping, and I sneak naps in between meetings, before pick-ups and even sometimes right after getting up in the morning.  I’m thrilled to say that I’ve made it through a few different days without a nap, and it feels like real progress.  This pendant didn’t start out being about sleep, but once that little circle went in the middle of what had been an ankh it became an open eye, a sign of hope for me right now.

Rainy Day

2″ x .5″, found objects

Hopefully this one speaks for itself.  A gray, wet day has some beauty, if only in the muffled sounds of cars passing on the roads outside.  I couldn’t get the focus right, but somehow that seems appropriate.