What’s New

112 posts

Screen Time

1″ x 2″, glass and found objects

This week the kids begin remote schooling, and all our limits on screen time are officially out the window.  with class from 8 AM to 5:30 PM it’s a long day of electronics.  I’ve been thinking about all the wearables and extra screens that people have been choosing to use over the last few years, and how perhaps having to do all of our learning and socializing through a screen is going to make them less appealing.  This pendant uses reflective glass, old electronics and wire to create what looks like an aged wearable computer.

Elemental

1″ x 1.5″, found objects

We went camping this week to try to fill some of the days before school starts (in some fashion) again. I was in the woods, sorting through beads for kids to use during their at-home learning, and somehow sitting among the trees by a lake with poison ivy and amazing caterpillars, the plastic beads just felt fake.  It was the metal ones that spoke to me, seeming more real and more comforting than the others.  This pendant is made mostly from an assortment of not-beads from the bead bin.  Metal pieces with no holes, a stone, and a chain.  My son says it looks like a bird, a person with hair or a mermaid, so hopefully it’ll speak to each of us in some way.

Scrappy

1″x 3.5″, spoon and scrap steel

Instead of being in my studio full of glass, I spent the weekend welding at Snow Farm.  After making a carload of large sculptures I used my last few minutes to gather smaller bits from the mountain of scrap metal and to pull out the pieces I’d cut from sheet metal with the plasma cutter.  This pendant combines a spoon and some hand-cut scrap into a graceful leaf-shaped pendant.  While eventually I’d like every weld of mine to be beautiful, for now I love knowing what James Kitchen, our amazing instructor, taught us, that although they’re imperfect, the welds are much stronger than the metal that they’re connecting. I like the idea that by being connected each piece becomes stronger.

Lace

1″ x 1″, found objects

This may not be real lace, but it’s lacy enough for me to count it for this week’s “lace” anniversary.  I found it at the beach at low tide, and my identification app tells me that it’s Coralline, a red algae that grows on rocky shores.    I’ve always loved fractals, and collecting shells, and this particular beach find hits both the marks.

Tooth

1″ x 1″, found objects

We’ve had some loose teeth in the house lately, and a couple of visits from the tooth fairy.  There’s also been a lot of hypothesizing about what, exactly, the tooth fairy might do with all the teeth she collects.  When I was a kid I insisted on keeping all of my teeth.  I had them in a little marble box, and I was fascinated by them, in the same way I was fascinated by gems and pinecones and glass eyes.  I think I might actually belong in the age of taxidermy and cabinets of curiosity.  But other people seem disgusted by teeth once they’re not in a mouth, so I was thrilled to find these stones that look an awful lot like teeth at the bottom of Tully Lake.  Here, to horrify anyone who thinks its real and thinks that’s weird, is my tooth stone.

Inspirations

1″ x 2″, glass and found objects

Today I installed a mosaic at a senior housing site in Brighton. The installation was inspired by a huge colorful sculpture of a flower that Lilli Ann Rosenberg had made with residents of the building 40 years ago.  Lilli Ann’s mosaics were also in Newton Centre, and I walked by them, explored them and thought about them every day as a kid.  Later, on my first trip to Philadelphia, I was amazed by Isaiah Zagar’s huge, colorful, playful mosaics.  I love Laurel True’s work too.  As I learn more about “real” mosaic and the rules of andamento I don’t quite know how to place the mosaics that are so free-form and broken-looking within the bounds of the art world’s constraints, but they still make me smile the most.  This pendant, like the artists I like the most, breaks all the rules.

Stress reduction

1′ x 2″, Amazonite

The week just got ahead of me. It’s 9 PM on Thursday, the pendant I wanted to post isn’t dry enough to photograph yet, and I can’t even manage to write my thoughts down.  So instead of the pendant I spent time on, you get to see the simple pendant I made on Tuesday with a few pieces of Amazonite.  Something spoke to me about the stones. They’re one of my favorite colors, and they have that nice smooth polish that feel relaxing to touch.  I read about the stones after making the pendant and learned that they’re good for stress reduction. Since it feels right now like everything got tossed up into the air and hasn’t landed yet, I think I’ll keep this stress-reducing pendant close.

Risk

1′ x 2″, glass beads and lead

So much of my time is spent weighing and managing risks right now.  How risky would it be for me to stop into the grocery store for more milk?  Is it riskier to leave the kids outside for a minute than to bring them in with me?  It occurred to me this week that so much of the risk management that we have to do for Covid is already second-nature to me from working with lead in stained glass for decades.  When I work with lead I have to be aware of when I’ve touched it, wash my hands well before I touch my mouth or nose, wear a respirator when I’m doing anything that would make it airborne, and keep the dust contained.  N-95 masks are already in my studio. I know how to turn on the faucet without contaminating it and how to make sure there’s good air circulation.  In a strange way I feel lucky to have had so much practice. This pendant is made from a lead weight, lead came, and glass beads.  Knowing the risks, I’ll probably be the only one brave enough to wear it, but I know how to do it safely.

Bubbles

1″ x 2″ fused glass and found objects

I realized that bubbles are missing from this summer.  Even though we can blow them in our own backyards, there aren’t the toddlers squealing with delight as they chase bubbles in playgrounds and fields.  Yes, there are bubble machines that you don’t have to blow into, but it seems like we’re not the only ones who haven’t switched over to mask-friendly bubble technology.  This pendant combines some “bubbles” of fused glass that I made during this week’s driveway craft camp with glass beads that have the shimmer and shine that I’m missing.

Corona

1″ x 2″ found objects

Working in prevention, I’m acutely aware of the increased use of alcohol by adults since the pandemic began, and of the potential for increase in misuse of other substances as the pandemic and its aftermath unfold.  Increased isolation, increased stress and economic instability can all contribute directly or indirectly to misuse, dependency and overdose deaths.  I was shocked that liquor stores were considered “essential services” when most businesses were shuttered.  This pendant balances the cheerful colors of the glass beads on the edges with the now-ominous words “corona extra”, and carries the extra layer of foreboding that I feel when I see bottle caps and alcohol ads.

Pup

1.5″ x 2″, found objects

Here’s something a bit lighter.  Out of the same box of trash that I found last week, the pieces for this little guy emerged.  I don’t know if it’s the paw patrol that the kids sometimes watch, or all the faces on waffles that I’ve created recently out of fruits and nuts, but everything seems to have eyes and a tongue.  Maybe he came along to make us smile and forget about the news for a little while.   Also, everyone I know seems to be getting a quarantine puppy, so this can be a small, less needy substitute.

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.