This holiday season, I kept returning to the concept of family legacies. When you create art, especially something like jewelry, there is a possibility it will be something that the family treasures and is handed down through generations. When creating wearable art pieces, I always consider that this might still be loved by someone 50 or more years from now, and create durable pieces.
I had two opportunities to personalize this and bring family legacies home.
The first revolves around these beads. They are part of a collection of beads that were on a necklace that was originally my great-grandmother Moon’s. Her husband, Iverson Moon, was a merchant marine and brought small things back from her as he traveled the world. I do not know which port of call had the market where he found the necklace with these gorgeous glass beads, but they were originally linked with steel filigrees. The necklace would have been over 100 years old. When my grandmother passed away a couple of decades ago, this necklace came to me via my mother.
Unfortunately, over time and exposure to the elements, the steel bits had started to rust and degrade, making the necklace unwearable. I did not want to lose the complete connection to family history and had no idea where or when I would ever find treasures like these antique beads again, so I disassembled the necklace and ponder what to do with the little pile of shinies. I finally settled on making a series of sterling silver earrings and gave them to my mom and my sister for Christmas, so they could also carry a piece of Granny Moon with them. Sometime over A winter, I will make my matching pair and we will all have a piece of this family legacy.
The other opportunity that presented itself this year started when I first unpacked my stones and jewelry making tools this past summer. As I was dusting and sorting, I found that I had a small pile of stones that had been collected and polished by my ex-father-in-law, who is deceased and no longer creating treasures. Whenever I visited them in Arizona, he would teach me a bit about what he was doing and making. I had been a geology fan in school but never tried my hand at jewelry making until he inspired me back in the late 1980s. Working rocks was a part of the memories many of his grandkids have of him, so I thought it would be cool to surprise them with pieces that centered around his stones. Some of the stones where just tumbled, others had starts where I had glued on clasps 1980s style and then never finished it. I took some of those pieces and created more modern jewelry that still held to his memory. I hope that all of these help them to feel a little closer to him.