I’m a long time getting around to this post, but better late than never. I had a wonderful project a few months ago that turned out to be one of the most rewarding and amazing things I’ve ever done, so I’ve been meaning to write about it here.
One of my favorite regular customers loved my Loft Earrings, made with vintage cotton pearls. She’s a longtime fan of the wonderful artist Michele Oka Doner, and admired a pearl necklace that Doner often wears (you can see it in the picture on her website, although not very clearly), and asked if I’d be willing to undertake a custom order for a necklace made with the cotton pearls from Loft. I adore those pearls; I was definitely up for the idea.
My lovely customer is a fan of my Noir and Urban Seaweed collections, and asked if I could incorporate one of those design concepts into the necklace. Michele Oka Doner is from Miami Beach, and has done a number of marine-themed installation pieces in Miami; in tribute to the original inspiration for this piece, I decided to try to work an Urban Seaweed theme into the necklace. The concept for that particular collection is to incorporate reminders of urban decay and commercial waste into the piece of jewelry. In a classic 2-strand pearl necklace, this posed a definite design challenge. I toyed with the ideas of stringing or looping chains into the design, incorporating some fused plastic, using oxidized torn copper pieces, adding a drop, and a couple of other outlandish concepts. For one reason and another, none of these struck the right note (some of them were just flat out unworkable). So I went back to look at my original Urban Seaweed bracelet to refresh the idea, and had the inspiration that simply using recycled glass beads would work beautifully. The shape kept the integrity of the classic pearl choker idea, the material related to the Urban Seaweed collection, and the rough, organic finish and luminous milky green look of the beads were a nice echo of the idea I was trying to evoke. So in the end, what I made was a classic double-strand pearl choker with the very slightest of twists – vintage cotton pearls and recycled African bottle glass beads. The recycled glass beads are interspersed at irregular intervals, and serve both to accentuate the classic pearly gloss of the cotton beads, and to interrupt the eye with a luminous little reminder that this is not quite your mother’s pearl necklace.
My customer requested to have the silver findings oxidized before I shipped the necklace, but otherwise these pictures show exactly how it looked when it was completed. I’m incredibly proud of the way this necklace turned out, and was so pleased and grateful to be able to work on such an interesting project. (Thanks, A! xo)