Heirloom Memory Necklace: January 2010

Memory Story 2010, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry):
sterling silver chain, aquamarine, gold filled wire,
and fine silver lotus blossom charm pendant

Last month I was struck by the idea of keeping a personal journal in the form of a necklace. I got the idea after reading about an artist who drew a picture that symbolized every year of his life -- a visual autobiography. Unfortunately, I can't remember the artist's name even though he does reside here in the Northwest, but I was completely entranced by the enormity of his work and its meditative qualities.

Instead of taking on forty-one years for my project, I decided that keeping a record of each month in 2010 would be a completely doable design project. The partial necklace pictured above is where I've started.

Choosing the zen lotus pendant was pretty easy, because in January I was re-energizing through my yoga and Buddhist beliefs. Aquamarine gemstones always remind me of air -- the element I love most -- and a marriage between gold with silver gives me a tremendous feeling of balance between light and dark.

I really enjoyed the reflective process of looking back over the last month and trying to communicate it through symbols. Have you tried this with your art or jewelry making before? Creating an object as a symbolic self-portrait instead of using words? I am also digging the idea that I don't know where I'm headed, and I have twelve months of waiting to find out! Not many of my design projects have such a slow pace so I'm excited to experience a new kind of creative journey that gives consciousness to each month.

What will February hold? Maybe something about the excitement of the Winter Olympics, southwest splendor, spring flowers....


  1. i am seeing this idea floating around, and i really like it - so imbued with meaning, a visual reminder of what you might like to return to, or what you have come from... yours is lovely for january -

  2. Known for his abstract minimalist paintings, Ellsworth Kelly also produced a "side" body of work consisting of self-portraits done over the course of several decades. Is this the artist you mean? http://www.matthewmarks.com/books-and-posters/ellsworth-kelly_6/

  3. A great idea, Beth - for a whole year! And a beautiful charm to start! Think the hummingbird bracelet using your charm is the closest I've come. Everytime I wear it, I'm transported back to that magical moment in Costa Rica watching the Snowcap nectaring and sharing its glory with us (:

  4. How cool Andrew! Thanks for the link to Ellsworth Kelly. I didn't know he had done this, but I'm guessing the contemporary Northwest artist I saw must have been paying homage to someone like Ellsworth Kelly. Wish I could remember his name, because I'm sure you'd love him too. I either read about him somewhere or saw him on the local PBS arts show. I think the project was done for his graduate thesis for art school. They were extremely minimalist drawings. Love the cover of Ellsworth Kelly's book of drawings, he looks so angst ridden :)

    Catherine, your jewelry always has those wonderful connections to a memory in nature and I just LOVE that about your work!

    Mary Jane, you're always stretching me to see more so thank you for this part where you say "what you might like to return to, or what you have come from." I hadn't put it together in my mind like this and now it feels so much fuller!


I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)