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The ground is deep. Or, Mine Only Earthly Barrier in the Plane of Existence is the Garden Where You Lie

The ground is deep. Or, Mine Only Earthly Barrier in the Plane of Existence is the Garden Where You Lie

Have you ever lost someone and the grief from that loss was so profound you felt you would prefer to crawl under the ground to be reunited rather than carry on with life alone? Grief, however, is a healing process and though I once felt this way, the intensity of that pain has passed. Thankfully. Grief is an inevitable human experience-no one is spared its untimely visit at some point in their lives. I created a work as a metaphor to this sentiment, a black concrete necklace that contains the earth. If you wear it and lie down on the ground, the earth will be on top of your chest.   

Today I am preparing this piece, Mine Only Earthly Barrier in the Plane of Existence is the Garden Where You Lie, for my exhibit, Sentiment & Splendor. The image shown is a pigmented concrete necklace, which contains 4 chambers containing a 3-inch layer of earth topped with moss. The 4 chambers measure 28 inches long and the entire piece (including earth and moss) weighs about 16 pounds. In a day or so I will walk to the cemetery near my house to borrow some earth and moss. During the exhibit it will need to be misted with water to keep the moss alive and fresh-a nurturing act that balances the concept of extreme grief this piece represents.

Please view my exhibit, Sentiment & Splendor, at The Tides Institute & Museum of Art, August 21-September 13, 2015. Opening reception and artist talk Friday August 21, 4-7pm. For more information about TIMA: www.tidesinstitute.org

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A hoard of sentiment. Or, The Abiding Ornaments of Your Memory Wrought in the Unbearable Dominion of My Longing.

A hoard of sentiment. Or, The Abiding Ornaments of Your Memory Wrought in the Unbearable Dominion of My Longing.

One of the many things I adore about jewelry is the meaning and feeling we assign to the pieces we wear-our jewelry is very personal.

There was a time when jewelry not only carried personal meaning for the wearer but also made a outward statement about the inner sentiments of the adorned. Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was in a large part responsible for the fashionable donning of black gowns and large jet jewelry, as she never emerged from the social protocol of dressing in mourning after the death of her beloved Albert in 1861. In short, the risk of death in the Victorian era in western culture was so high due to pestilence, war and poor hygiene that a woman could rightly spend most of her life observing the social protocols of mourning. Thus, sentiment spilled over into fashion-because what’s a stylish Victorian girl to do if she has to spend the rest of her life wearing black???

Pictured above is Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, looking appropriately somber in 2 strands of large jet beads. I love it. I love it so much I created my own in black concrete, which to me represents the weight I experienced in my mind and body during my own period of mourning. The other image is a hoard of concrete beads that belong to said necklace titled; The Abiding Ornaments of Your Memory Wrought in the Unbearable Dominion of My Longing. It is like an extremely exaggerated version of a Victorian woman layering her beads. I imagine the sentimentally fashionable Victorian woman in all her melancholic splendor under the constricting weight and indulgent beauty of the layer upon layer of my concrete necklace…want to try it on?

The Abiding Ornaments of Your Memory Wrought in the Unbearable Dominion of My Longing. Heather Perry, 2013

 

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The biggest necklace I’ve ever made. Or: Mine Own Existence Wearing Thin Underneath The Unbearable Weight Of Your Absence

The biggest necklace I’ve ever made. Or: Mine Own Existence Wearing Thin Underneath The Unbearable Weight Of Your Absence

Its been a busy time here at my Eastport studio & showroom, not only am I creating one of a kind pieces for some amazing clients, I am also very excited to be preparing for my exhibit, Sentiment & Splendor, at The Tides Institute and Museum of Art!

This necklace, made from molded black concrete, is part of a body of work titled The Weight of the Heavenly Garden in the Plane of Existence, which is an ode to the Jet jewelry so ubiquitous in the Victorian era. It is the biggest piece of jewelry I have ever made! Beyond its obvious sculptural material and appearance, I designed the piece to be worn-though only for a short time, as it weighs almost 20 pounds!

Sentiment & Splendor runs from August 21-September 13, 2015 at The Tides Institute and Museum of Art, 43 Water Street, Eastport, Maine. Opening reception and artist talk Friday, August 21, 4-7pm.

For more Info about TIMA: http://tidesinstitute.org/

Mine Own Existence Wearing Thin Underneath The Unbearable Weight Of Your Absence. Heather Perry, 2013

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Ice & Snow Ring, Part 6

Ice & Snow Ring, Part 6

The Ice and Snow Ring is complete! I'm in LOVE with this moonstone! It has just enough translucency to cast a bit of a cats-eye effect as light passes through it. The flush set gray diamonds add a lively sparkle to the subtle glow of the center stone but are similar enough in color to the surface metal that they are a bit of an unexpected surprise. This combination of stones and oxidized silver is so lovely that I am inspired to design more pieces just so I can keep working with these beautiful gems! It's actually kind of difficult to design for myself because I keep seeing new possibilities and changing course-but this ring is satisfying my craving for a mysterious-sparkly-imperfect-vintage-every-day-finger-jewel (for the moment, at least!) Jewelry design is an exciting process and I'm glad you've shared the journey of my birthday ring! How would you design yours?

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Ice & Snow Ring, Part 5

Ice & Snow Ring, Part 5

As I mentioned yesterday an inspiration for this ring is to create a vintage feel. This goes back to my high school days tagging along with a friend who loves antique stores. While she was searching for clothes I was drawn to the jewelry cases and always enamored by the Victorian silver and marcasite pieces that had tarnished with time. It was like this moment of a past life was captured and I would try to imagine what it was like for the woman who wore such an ornate, sparkly jewel. In order to recreate this feeling in my ring, I have to speed up the aging process by oxidizing my silver. This is always scary for me because I get used to the bright silvery shine of the metal as I am working on it and it's risky to dull that shine with an oxidizing solution-what if I hate it? Alas...I must be brave and follow my plan. As you can see it turns the metal black and matte, a very different look from yesterday's photo!! However, it won't remain this dark. As I am setting the moonstone I will be polishing and burnishing the surface of the metal to reduce or remove parts of the deep black and matte…

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Ice & Snow Ring, Part 4

Ice & Snow Ring, Part 4

Now the prep work is done-time to get down to the sparkly details! Part of my inspiration for this ring(besides Ice and Snow) is to create the feeling of a vintage jewel that is a bit off center, or imperfect; like it lives in its own little world just next to the one we are familiar with. When I carved the wax model to cast this ring I created settings-not quite in alignment with each other-for eight 1.5-1.7mm stones. But after I was finished setting the eight I thought it needed a few more! Now there are five extra grey diamonds around the outer edge of the ice crystals-I just couldn't help myself! What do you think...enough diamonds or do you see room for more?

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Ice & Snow Ring, Part 3

Ice & Snow Ring, Part 3

Making progress on my Ice and Snow ring today! After casting I cut the sprue (the place where the metal is poured into the mold) and adjust the ring to the correct size. Next I begin to prepare the surface of the metal for its eventual polish by sending the raw casting for a spin in my Centrifugal Magnetic Finisher. You can see here that the metal looks less 'white' than the previous photo and has a dull shine. This is happens as tiny steel pins (all that stuff below the ring) swirl around in the finishing chamber and come into contact with every surface of the ring. This action burnishes the surface of the silver which decreases its porosity after the casting process. Up next...diamond setting!

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Ice & Snow Ring, Part 2

Ice & Snow Ring, Part 2

The next step in the evolution of my Ice and Snow ring-the exciting moment the wax model makes its transition to metal, in this case sterling silver. What you see is a big 'frame' that will hold the moonstone cabochon and some small holes where I will set some tiny gray diamonds. The silver looks very white because of the porosity that occurs on the surface of the metal during casting. I can't wait to see how is looks after I set the stones!!! More to come soon…

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Ice & Snow Ring, Part 1

Ice & Snow Ring, Part 1

In progress wax model of a one of a kind moonstone ring ode to the many layers of ice and snow we have been buried under this winter. This one is for me! I try to make myself a piece of jewelry for my birthday each year but have skipped the last few since I have been in grad school. Now that the MFA is in hand and I am devoting my time to the reformation of my jewelry business-allowing myself to play and experiment with design/concept/process is key to building new jewelry collections to share with my amazing supporters! Plus, this is kind of a big birthday...none of us are getting any younger and life is too short to wear boring jewels! The cast metal will be oxidized sterling silver and the tiny holes will hold either grey diamonds or rubies, I'm not sure which yet, what's your vote? A shout out to Kate Wolf and my favorite Wolf Wax tools, I can't imagine wax carving with anything else!!

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