Tangible Hope is a series of compelling and evocative wearable objects of contemplation that utilize visual metaphor and material exploration to focus on concepts of loss of innocence, fear and hope. Recently, I have been drawn towards researching Memento Mori (symbolic reminders of mortality) and imagery I associate with a nostalgic longing for childhood innocence. With fear ever present in our “Age of Terror”, I find myself looking for hope. This searching has led me to examine objects from the past, from the history of jewelry and metalsmithing, such as amulets, talisman, Memento Mori jewelry, and medieval reliquaries. Since the beginning of human civilization, we have created objects during times of fear and uncertainty in an attempt to embody hope.
The materials chosen for this line of exploration have a profound impact on the content of the work, for example, hair. Hair, like bone, does not decay. Human hair has an ancient tradition dating back to the Egyptians as being a social signifier, a signifier of status, and a signifier of religious/cultural observance. Hair has a long history of being used in jewelry. The first objects in this series use hair I saved from my first year in college when I cut my long hair short. This 20-year-old hair not only has all the connections to the history of hair and its use in jewelry, but it also has a personal connection to my life and my story.
An offshoot of this new series of wearable artwork is the sub-series Tangible Hope: Insidious Fear. These brooches explore the push and pull between fear and hope. Materials, color, and form all are in play -with fear (ink and thread) on the exterior of the bark trying to subsume, and hope (gold “repairing”) holding the interior together. The use of gold is a meditation on the Japanese concept of “kintsugi”–the philosophy that repair is something to be celebrated; that what is broken and repaired is more beautiful for having its history. Hope’s ability to overcome fear creates beautiful scars in our souls.