Saturday, July 27, 2013

Memories...Like the Corners of My Nose...

Ahhhh, Summer. If you've been following the blog lately, you have no doubt noticed that many of us are in and out of full-on vacation mode, dropping posts between bursts of travel and wonderful summertime fun. For those of us living in or visiting the northeast, we know that these days are fleeting, and have to be grabbed by the handful between May and August. Especially so for those with family and school schedules to factor in.

So, excuse us for our brief or erratic posts, as our brains have turned into potato salad and barbecue for the time being.
 


I have just returned from Northern Michigan, and four blissful days of eating, drinking and sunning on the shores of Glen Lake with two of my sisters and a dear friend. A girls weekend in paradise.

What a wonderful trip...my friend Maria supplied a floaty the size of
my living room (sat six...seriously...with built in COOLERS). 
I now can't imagine living without one...
By the way, re-entry to "real life " sucks, for lack of a better term.

Anyhoo, I'm back home, organizing my memories of the getaway as best I can to better savor them the longest. Photos are wonderful, but I began thinking about what else triggers memory--scent. If I were to make a smell that best encapsulates the very essence of my summer memories it would be a bouquet of campfire smoke with hints of Off Bug Spray, undertones of the breeze off a freshwater lake, a shot of fresh mowed grass, and a layer of sun-warmed skin covered in cocoa butter. Are you listening, Glade?

This in turn reminded me of when I created a line of jewelry meant to carry scent. Years ago I played around with clay, and created some kiln-fired glazed beads. I am one of those people that can't wear perfume. My skin is too acidic or something, and no matter how spectacular the perfume or essential oil, 10 minutes on my skin and it smells like cat pee....Seriously. FOR REAL. So, I tried to design beads and pendants that could carry scent without coming in direct contact with skin. I left a recessed, unglazed window in the bead or pendant where you could apply drops of perfume or oil. The clay absorbed the liquid and held the scent, the glaze protected the scent from my skin. They worked well and I liked them, but you could not change the scent and I got frustrated with the complexities of creating, glazing and firing because, well, I am incredibly impatient and schizophrenic in my jewelry designs. I wanted something that could be used over and over again, with different scents whenever the wearer wanted.

That's when I hit on a metal vessel-based pendant design that has a removable, ventilated front. Inside, the wearer can place a bit of sponge or cloth soaked in their favorite scent, or even dried aromatic herbs and flowers (dried lavender is PERFECT for this). DING DING DING! We have a winner! Easy to create from just about any small, non porous tin or constructed bezel, as long as the front cover has tiny holes and can be removed and replaced. Simply empty and rinse with unscented soap and water before changing scents. I seal the interior of the pendant and back of the cover with clear acrylic so the oils and perfumes won't react with whatever metals I use. These work really well, especially if the pendant is worn directly touching your skin. Your body temperature warms the pendant and really releases whatever scent you have inside. Kewl! No more eu de cat pee!

I had to climb into the way-back machine of my computer to find this
image from 2010.  One of the first metal vessel pendants I made for scent.
When I got home, I created the pendant you see below, inspired by my recent time-out in the beautiful "Up North". I brought home a pocketful of Petoskey stones and a heart full of love and warm memories.  Now that is the makings of a spectacular design. A drilled Petoskey stone sits on top, found on a rock picking excursion in Leland. Below that, silver and brass wire form gentle waves, like those on Glen Lake. A tiny rectangular tin box is riveted in place (the pendant base is textured aluminum), the top drilled and decorated with one of MaryAnn Carroll's beautiful enamel copper discs in a gorgeous liquid blue, almost as gorgeous as the color of the lakes I just visited. A tiny brass dragonfly wing accents. Finally, a fiery red glass headpin by Kimberly Rogers reminds me of the nightly campfire we had to toast our marshmallows for salted caramel dark chocolate s'mores.....Heaven. Not sure what scent I will place in the box...probably dried lavender like the bundles we buried our faces in while wandering around Leland. I think I might finish it with a map fragment on the back pinpointing where we stayed. Yes, that ought to do it...


So, until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful Summer and collect an endless supply of memories touching all the senses--and I hope you savor them for years to come. Enjoy!!!

8 comments:

NuminosityBeads said...

Fantastic piece and so great to hear the story behind it. I love your description of the firey headpin, truly a piece from up north as well. Looks like your break was soul fulfilling and sparked your inner campfire.

Kelli said...

Fabulous piece!!!!!! Love the inspiration!

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Wow, you are so creative! I love the idea of the scents. I don't wear too many "smells" either because it gives me a headache! I can only tolerate berry, candy like smells and nothing else, so I try to get some nicely scented lotion and call it a day.

And.... speaking of smells and summer. We have had a very slow going show in Syracuse, NY this weekend and I have been commenting on how much outhouses (now called porta potties) have improved. It's not like I would want to spend my day in one, but you cannot believe the decorations (artwork) and hanging potpourri, flowers and such inside them! After leaving that ALMOST) pleasant experience, you are then met with fresh water that you pump yourself, liquid soap pleasantly scented and some nice towels for drying. Now, that has not been the highlight of the weekend, but your post made me rethink of it for the 10th time this weekend! lol!!! Remember the 70's and 80's? We've come a long way, baby!!

Maree Clarkson said...

What a great idea for your scent pendant! Your creations are really beautiful, love it!

Barry said...

K- a very creative solution and piece of work - enjoyed reading about as well as admiring your skill. B

Angi said...

Love, love, love! Your creativity astounds me! I can't wear scents either, after wearing for a few minutes.....yep, cat pee! Thank you so much for thinking of us scent-challenged gals!

Every year, my sister-in-laws (hub's sissy's) and I take off for a weekend adventure, even if its just getting some hotel rooms and enjoying the pool! I always try to bring home something as a special memory and then create commemorative jewelry for us. I've been hooked on making tiny shadow box pendants with small souvenirs from each trip. Everytime I wear one, I'm instantly taken back to that special weekend!

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Genea said...

Looks like your get away was amazing! Love the pendant! xo Genea

stacilouise said...

Any post that opens with Calvin and Hobbes has my vote! But then you ended with awesomeness too. Love that idea. You work is so explorative. I love the risks you take in it, and how you push and evolve your designs!

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