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Rough Spring

1″ x 1″, glass and slate

I took a mini-mosaics mini-class online with Rachel Davies (who you should all check out),  and while other people’s minis were 2″x2″, I worked on a 1″ square pendant.  She’s a master with slate, and I remembered why I love it, for its rough edges, its brittleness, and its complexity.  And while today is gray and dreary, there are signs of spring everywhere.  I pulled out my shiny green glass to add to this pendant, to echo the bright green sprouts among the rocks and leaves, the greens fighting their way through the cracks, and the shine of the sun that will, eventually, shine.


1″ diameter, found objects and glass

We had two wet, cold, rainy days this week and their only saving grace was that the raindrops were beautiful. They set me to thinking about all the different kinds of rain that fall in the spring.  The driving rain, the misty wet air that somehow wets the windshield but doesn’t wet your hair, the big fat droplets, and the slow, steady rain that doesn’t keep you inside, but still manages to flood the basement after a few days.  This pendant only captures the big fat droplets and the driving rain, but suggests the rest of the types of wet that all lead up to planting summer veggies.

Step by Step

2″ x .5 “, glass beads

I learned during my anthropology training that ladders are one of a very few images (along with snakes, actually) that exist in every culture, regardless of whether they’re used regularly in the region. I like them as a metaphor.  One step at a time, connecting, bridging, leading, climbing.  And I like the idea of looking for them where they weren’t meant to be, the way people see faces in rocks and bark and clouds.  In this pendant the beads glitter distractingly, and the path is uneven, but there’s a ladder to climb if you look for it.


1″ x 1″, found objects

Scale is a confusing thing. It hurts my brain to think too hard about whether I’m big compared to the littlest things (I’ve been reading a lot about microbes lately) or tiny compared to the biggest things (the universe, the planet…) and then it’s even more complicated to think about how we each want to be given personal space and creative flexibility, but we also want to be surrounded and held by others.  What’s enough space?What’s too much?  This pendant is a meditation on space, the personal kind and the planetary kind.


.5″x 1″, found objects

Last week’s pendant reminds me of a spider, and this week’s is more like a lightning bug, bringing just a flash of momentary light to the situation…or the season. Thankfully daylight savings is right around the corner and days are getting longer.


1″ diameter, found objects

I like the word composition, partly because it spans writing, music, visual art, dance and more.  While there’s nothing inherently complicated about taking pieces of your chosen art and deciding how to put them together, I know I couldn’t do it in any medium that I don’t know deeply. I can’t string together notes. I couldn’t begin to choreograph a dance.  But with my glass and beads and baubles I know how to arrange, re-arrange, consider balance and form, think about color, and adjust until I have a tiny composition that looks, somehow… right.

Hills and Valleys

2″ x .5″, dichroic glass and slate

This week has been amazingly manageable. It turns out that when the kids travel, and I only have myself to feed, bathe, schedule and rest, it seems like there are at least three extra hours in the day. Of course, those hours have been for work, but even work feels more restful when I’m not checking my watch for pick-up times and thinking about what to make for dinner.  And yet, the days alone still had their challenges.  The hills and valleys and the twists and turns weren’t as extreme as they usually are, but there were still ups and downs.  The slate in this pendant shows the ups and downs at every scale.  Rub it with your fingers and you’ll feel the bumps.  Look very closely and you’ll see tiny dips and rises in every millimeter.

Guiding Star

2″ x .5″, found objects

Someone who stopped at my table during a craft fair said that she loved my use of mixed metals, and I glanced over my jewelry to see that I had, in fact, mixed many different metals.  In this pendant the mix was practical. I prefer the length of my silver chains, and I didn’t want to have to put the gold pendant on a gold chain.  So the silver star added some silver bling, and the bead posts below it help to pull  attention down to the careful beadwork below.  And thanks to that guiding star, a simple art deco design emerged.


1″ diameter, glass

I’ve always liked to look inside things, to figure out how they work and how they grew.  I got to use an electron microscope during a program at the museum of science as kid, and it was so wonderful to see the building-blocks of stuff, not looking like perfect circles, smooth lines and curves the way they tend to in illustrations, but with torn edges and bumps and bruises.  This little pendant has its own structure, and if you look closely you’ll see the rough corners and irregular cleaving of the glass rods.


1″x 2″, glass and found objects

When I look at other people’s art I see a clear style.  There’s a continuity to their pieces, and they could be picked out of a crowd.  I wonder how long it’ll take for me to have a body of work big enough to start to see a pattern.  Or maybe my journey is more winding, with too many influences and too many materials to allow for any sort of consistency. Despite the inconsistency of my art I was honored this week as one of the year’s artists of the month for Somerville (September was my month!). they gave us all superhero capes, and I think mine might be just the boost I need to fly forward and see where my art journey takes me.


1″ x 1.5″, ceramic

I usually have a relatively clear map in my head of how my day will go, how my week will go, and then it gets blurrier from there.  But lately there have been so many changes and unknowns each day that I can’t even see the one-day map. This pendant, made from a child’s ceramic tea set, represents the unexpected twists and turns that my days have been taking, making my mental map labyrinthian.

Our time

1″ x .75″, found objects

I was by my grandmother’s side the night before she passed away and it’s hard, as you watch someone fade away, not to think about the time they had and the time two two of you had together. I wish there had been more time to hear stories before she wasn’t able to speak, and more time to laugh together before she lost her bearings, but 98 years is a long time. In the light, this watch face pulses with deep reds as it moves, and reminds me of all the time before she faded.


1″ x .5″, found objects

I sometimes accidentally design pendants that have sharp bits at the bottom because I love the look of curves tapering to a point.  But this time I thought ahead and pointed the old calligraphy pen nib up, so it won’t poke anyone. There it is, partly buried, a memory of all the stories it once wrote, darkened by ink and age.  And from its sides grow branches and fruits, new creations emerging from the writer’s pen.

Shield II

1″ x 2″, found objects

I love tools. and I love hardware.  As a kid I would spend hours and hours looking through the little bins at the hardware store down the street from my house, comparing sizes and imagining what it could become.  But sadly, I’m still not taken seriously when I walk into most hardware stores. As a woman I need to prove to the men who seem to haunt the isles that I do indeed have business there and that I don’t need to be condescended to.  This pendant will be a hardware-full shield against the sexism that’s still rampant in construction, art and manufacturing.  Beautiful and tough.

Drop of Sunshine

1′ x 1.5 “, found objects

This is the season when a  drop pf sunshine can change the course of a whole day. It’s the deciding factor between sitting snuggled up under a blanket or venturing out into the cold.  It’s the difference between wanting ice cream or hot chocolate.  And this particular drop of sunshine is made from one of the treasures in a whole box of sunshine that was gifted to me for the holidays. I was given a wonderful mishmash of old jewelry and watches by my mom and my friend’s mom to reimagine in the new year.  I’m looking forward to hours of fun!


1″ x 1.2″, found objects

Tonight is the 5th night of Hanukkah, and we haven’t been super consistent about lighting the candles, but all the things around me that glow remind me of flames. The stone in this pendant catches the light in a way that looks like it’s holding a flame inside. I love the way that its original oval setting frames it, but by adding black adhesive and another small metal finding, the red looks deeper and brighter than ever.


1″x 2.5″, found objects

For most people, holidays are about something religious, but for me, it’s really all about the food. Of course, I do love decorations, and I love being together with family and friends, and the excuse to pull out fancy clothes that only get worn for special occasions.  But mostly, it’s about the food.  Since we don’t celebrate Christmas but we do have other winter holidays, our holiday season gets stretched out and enjoyed even longer. This pendant too is stretched out to include elements that represent decorations, music and, central to it all, food.

Eye of the Storm

1″ x 1.5″, wire and stone

These days it feels like everything’s spinning, and I’m going in literal circles around the city, around the region and around my house. There are moments of calm, and I’m so grateful for them, but they feel like the eye of the storm, and I know that within an hour the spinning will start again.


1″ x 1.5″, glass and found objects

A friend is moving, and she’s decided to have a zero-waste move, throwing nothing out as she packs.  It’s created a tremendous amount of extra work for her, and taken so much time, but it’s a nice goal.  Last week she presented me with a tiny tin and a baggie of the last remnants of the move, the smallest bits of plastic and glass that no one else wanted.  So here a few of them have found a home. The central plastic ring, the tiny black cap, and both of the artificial gems are now finding a second life in this pendant.  (oh, and if you’re in the Boston area, come pick up some of these pendants at the Celebrate Newton holiday market this Sunday!)

Nestled II

1″ diameter, found objects

The first piece I added to this pendant was a gear. It fit perfectly, nestling into the outer ring. But there were spaces left between each tooth. I found beads that nestled right into the spaces, filling them completely. And with a little hunting I found beads and rivets to fill the space in the center, nestling the smallest rivet into the larger one. The pendant became my 1-inch version of feeling nestled and well-protected, especially as the weather gets colder and windier outside.


2″ x .5″, ceramic tiles

I spent this week at the enormous annual conference of the American Public Health Association. Thousands of people in a big convention center trying to rush from one end of the building to another to catch the sessions and speakers that they’re most interested in. Unlike in the regular world, everyone already speaks public health acronyms and believes in prevention, but still, there are surprising divides between the people who attend.  It feels like the tiles in this pendant, all made of the same stuff, painted the same family of colors, but different shapes and with some space still between them, all trying to line up straight enough to accomplish collective impact.


1″x  .75″, found objects

As you know by now, I love the natural patinas that materials develop over time.  Every time I used to go to Europe I’d remember that the time scale for buildings and roads and aqueducts was so different there.  The finish on the stones was more worn, the metals more corroded.  Then, going to India, the time scale jumped again.  Instead of decades old in the US or hundreds of years old in Europe, things that we still walked by could be thousands of years old.  This pendant combines an antique cuff link from the US with an antique coin from India.  Each is beautiful and old in its own way.  Now I’m watching my own body age at the same time I watch my grandmother’s 98 year-old body age.  The scales are different, and her patina of wrinkles and softness is more advanced than mine.


1″ x 2″, glass

I think a lot about what’s next; planning for the future and trying to optimize.  And sometimes the number of things I have to do each day feels like an over-commitment, filling every hour and making it hard to change course.  But the flip side of being so busy is that it keeps me grounded.  As long as I’m stuck somewhere good, maybe it’s OK to not be moving.  The tiny recycled glass tiles in this pendant are stuck in a green-tinted cement. As long as they don’t struggle against it, maybe it’s cozy to be stuck so tight.


.5″ x 2″, dichroic glass

I had some complicated thoughts about pendant designs for this week, but the colors of the leaves on every block are so vibrant that I couldn’t get them out of my head and they snuck into the pendant. I love the way the dichroic glass reflects the light and makes the colors glow just like the sun shining through the leaves of the very brightest trees.


2″x .5″, glass and found objects

In some small parts of my life I have all my ducks in a  row; I arrive to meetings on time, I prepare materials in advance, I (usually) stay up to date on entries to my public health job’s database. But in other areas of my life there’s just constant change, and it feels like the sands are always shifting beneath me. In person, this pendant shifts colors as the dichroic glass on the left side reflects the light around it. As it moves it changes.  And yet the small pile on the right stays in place, precarious but balanced.