This little pendant necklace was the start of it; I was sitting in the hospital room of my dying partner, nearing the culmination of helplessly watching him succumb to a nasty cancer. I was thinking up a new design with six, or maybe seven jewelry findings in front of me; all possibilities, final outcome unknown.
For two years I had buried myself in fabric, smothered myself in embroidery thread; it could be found sticking to my clothing, on the floor of my car and anywhere else I looked, once even in my mouth. I entered online embroidery sew-offs, I exhibited my work in shows, I sold necklaces to local shops, anything to keep sewing and making, and trying to close my eyes to my surroundings. It was a sort of distraction, even though it was my work. While navigating chaos, I was dreaming deep of my future, letting myself fall feet first into realms of unknowing.
An artist in California had sent me magnificent scraps of batik-dyed silk charmeuse, large pieces in several color-ways, to make jewelry from. She was intrigued because a big part of her work involved dyeing vintage embroidered linens. She said she looked forward to seeing pieces of my jewelry, showcasing snippets of her fabrics with my embroideries over them. This little necklace is my beginning, not embroidered but containing the germ of an idea. Maybe next time I will add stitches for Kathryn, the artist.
A few days ago I found the pieces I had collected together for my necklace, in a paperboard box. That day in August, sitting in the hospital room, I had designed the silk batik necklace, making a charm with the teeniest, ancient-est mother-of-pearl button I'd ever seen. My favorite part of looking at it, after the iridescence of it, was the fading feather-like lines engraved around the edges of the button. I added a Pewter leaf, plated in 24 karat gold. Then I put these things away: snippet of silk, gold leaf, button and jewelry components. Today I have found and put the pieces together, resulting in a sample that stands for my future work to come. Simple, yet emotive jewelry pieces that will showcase fabrics from life, to memorialize those no longer with us. You can find the new collection on my website at cecileibovitz.com.