statement

I grew up in a small historical town called Haddonfield in southern New Jersey founded by a Quaker woman, Elizabeth Haddon . This sense of women's history and my parents great love of nature surrounded me as I grew up there. At six, we started taking summer vacations to the coast of Maine, a place sprawling with wildflowers and beaches made of rocks rolled smooth by the sea. The beach in Maine seemed harsh at first, cold winds, seaweed and rocks covered the shoreline. It was too cold to swim, so I spent the days hopping from rock to rock, taking long walks with my family up and down the beach with my Mom and Dad seeking out hidden patches of wildflowers, and searching for the perfect, smooth stone. To my surprise, there was a whole world of tiny hidden treasures hidden beneath the slimy seaweed in between the cracks of the enormous rocks. Before I knew it I was filling my pockets with stones, shells, feathers, flowers, and whatever else attracted me. It was during those walks that I first began to discover my own favorite things in nature, and this new love would follow me throughout my life.

I have always been interested in learning new skills, and while in college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, I became captivated by the endless possibilities of photography. After switching my major to specialize in photo, I was faced with the new challenge of figuring out what to take pictures of. I wanted to work with still-life photography and began roaming around the city picking up anything of interest off the streets to use in my arrangements. But something was missing-- the elements that inspired me weren't easy to find in the urban setting around me. The long walks on those rocky Maine beaches came back to me and I had my parents ship all of the boxes of driftwood, seashells, rocks, and feathers I had collected throughout my childhood. The arrival of this lifelong subject matter inspired me beyond words, and fed into a long series of photographs that would occupy my sensibilities for the next several years.

Around this same time I began working part-time as an assistant for a couple local jewelers. I liked the idea of these women supporting themselves by making their art and felt I shared alot of common ground creatively with them. Because of their likewise fascination with photography, I began taking slides and documenting their work utilizing many of the tools I had created for myself out of those artifacts from Maine.

After graduating from Pratt in 1993, I was becoming more and more dissatisfied with the flat result of a mere photographic print and began explore how to combine the image with the tradition of jewelry. I began by backing the small images from my contact sheets with a clay resin that I would carve and sand down to a smooth finish into lightweight photo-beads to be used as earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

I started building my own business with this new line of work. As I learned more and more metal working, I moved away from the resin backings into cast settings in silver, bronze, and gold that now emulated frames of my larger photographs. I am love with the history of Victorian picture jewelry and the intimacy that came with being able to hold and wear these small momentos. I started selling my photo jewelry in crafts galleries and museums in 1995. Since then I have found my photo-jewelry to be endlessly provocative in creating personalized family heirlooms and narrative pieces to describe the world around me.


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