I have been asked to do the impossible about the jewelry I collect: write about the one that got away, or write about my favorite piece. I could tell you about some of my favorite former pieces that got away because I decided to stick them in my suitcase at the last minute on my way to New Zealand. They were not precious jewels, so surely no one would steal them, right? Right!
Instead, I will write about my favorite piece. But I really cannot because I don’t have one favorite piece – I have favorite pieces. So, with that in mind, I’ll choose one to highlight for this article.
A little background: ten years ago, September 22, 2001 to be exact, I co-founded a not-for-profit organization in Houston named the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. We had spent several years planning, renovating a building and doing all those things that need to happen to bring a new arts organization into being. Part of the Center is the Asher Gallery, a sales gallery, where we fulfill that part of our mission which is about supporting studio artists.
First, I liked the idea of re-using objects that had been mass-produced and so much a part of our popular culture. Second, I loved the fact that people had to get close to realize (if they could, even then) what the piece was made of. From a distance it just looked like a medallion. It was almost interactive because of the questions it caused, whether the observer could figure it out or not. Third, I had never really cared for Barbie dolls and did not encourage them for my daughter; she, of course, loved them! Now, I am not a violent person, but wearing something that was attractive and made by chopping up a Barbie doll seemed somehow satisfying! Last, by wearing such an unusual piece, which almost always gives rise to questions and comments, I was able to advertise the Center and the Asher Gallery.
And, perhaps most important, I love wearing it!
Sara Morgan is a collector and advocate of craft, co-founder of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft and currently serves on the board of the American Craft Council.