When I was a student at Art Center College, I learned to keep a mental treasure chest of images, ideas, and inspirations. When I had to pull an all-nighter to come up with that winning design, I could refer to my treasure chest for inspiration. This practice has served me well in my career as a designer. Whenever I go out in the world, I observe, examine, and record details of everything in order to keep my mental treasure chest full. As the years have gone by I have also become a collector of material things. How could I resist? My material treasure chest is filled with antique buttons, trims, fabrics, beads, yarns, threads, old books, and illustrations. The jewelry I create is a combination of my mental and material treasures.
The freeform crochet technique came about when my mother, Mary Kelly, passed away a few years back. I inherited her precious crochet hooks, instruction books, and some of her vintage thread. Although I always admired my mother’s crochet work, I never felt I could replicate it. Trying to follow the instructions and keep my eyes on the work was just too overwhelming for me, but, when I held her hooks in my hands, I knew I had to do something with them. I looked at the instructions in one of her old books and learned how to do some simple stitches. As I was practicing the basics, I discovered, to my delight that all of my mistakes an mis-stitches had created a very pretty piece. It looked like a bracelet so I put a circle on one end and a loop on the other end to create a closure. After wearing it for a while I decided it would be the perfect base for some of my antique buttons and beads. Now I can’t stop.
On some of my pieces I used fabric-covered buttons that I had created using some of my vintage images. I have a deep respect for illustrators from the past and I created these buttons in admiration of them. I especially love the illustrations of women, and like to put them into pieces of jewelry. These illustrations are just too fantastic to be forgotten in an old book or magazine.
The bracelets are wonderful to wear, not only are they beautiful and comfortable, but they are also full of carefully collected treasures and memories that I can display and share with everyone I meet.