This spring, Paper Darts Literary Magazine, curator Ann Tozer, and jeweler Stephanie Voegele will present a collaborative exhibition exploring the connections between literature and art jewelry. They wanted work from jewelers “concerned with issues of text, literature and storytelling and writers who engage with ideas that surround jewelry, objects and the body. Displaying these two art forms together, our exhibition will expose where writers’ and jewelers’ work meet.”
Selected entries will be included in an exhibition to be held at Magers and Quinn Booksellers and an accompanying publication. Both will coincide with the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ conference in Minneapolis April 23-26, 2014, “From Grains to Gold.” There will be other exhibitions/shows in the Twin Cities during this time, and many lovely things to see at the conference and elsewhere. I had two friends both make sure I knew of this possible opportunity to have my work exhibited. As a librarian and a beader, this was something that greatly appealed to me. This was the piece I made after returning from the sweet grass basket class.
In the story ‘The Necklace’ by Guy de Maupassant, Mathilde Loisel dreams of a life beyond the means of her family station and income. Her husband brings home an invitation to a formal party of the glamor she envisions as her right and destiny, so Mathilde buys a new dress, and borrows a diamond necklace from her wealthy friend, Madame Forestier. It was the party of Mathilde’s dreams, and she receives the attention she craves. Upon returning home and removing her wrap, she discovers the necklace is missing. Unable to find it, Mathilde and her husband buy a replacement necklace to return, without telling Madame Forestier. The Loisels endure poverty for ten years to repay the loans taken out to purchase the necklace, dismissing servants and taking additional jobs. This hard life damages and ages them. Mathilde happens upon Madame Forestier on a walk one Sunday after the loans are finally repaid, and Mathilde is unrecognizable to her old friend, as her beauty is gone and she looks like any other poor woman. Mathilde tells Madame Forestier that the change was on her account, and finally admits the story of the lost necklace. To that, Madame Forestier replies, ‘Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs!’
Instead of diamonds – or imitation diamonds – my necklace has Swarovski crystals, and instead of precious metal, it has glass beads. Embroidered with these beads is the memorable ending of ‘The Necklace.’ It is 16″ long.
While this piece was not juried into the show, I enjoyed making it, and now I have a flashy necklace I can wear – and explain!