Tell Me a Story

nest necklace

how jewelry connects us

My husband gave me this nest necklace soon after our third child was born. I wore it for years. My favorite thing about it was that the kids would climb up in my lap and ask "Which one am I?" It prompted conversations about the eggs being cradled in the nest, how the nest and branch were like the parents, supporting and holding up the precious eggs. This would lead to a request for a story. They loved hearing about when they were born, how we felt when our eyes met theirs for the first time, and other stories about growing into who they are.  Now my oldest wears it, and they still enjoy pointing out which egg represents them. They still want to hear those stories.

Even now, I love hearing stories about my family life. It goes without saying that I cherish each word of those memories even more, now that my dad is gone. One of my favorites recalls when I was a baby, before I started walking or talking. My mom tells me that, like clock work, I'd crawl to the screen door of our small house in the early evening, pull myself up, and whistle as I watched and waited for my dad to gently bring our Chevy Nova to a stop in the driveway after a long day at work.

Our stories keep us connected. They anchor us. They remind us we belong. Just hearing about a small gesture, a simple action, an everyday happening, tells us we are part of a tribe, a pack, a system, a member of a community, we are family. Our stories assure us we are part of something bigger than ourselves whether by bond or by blood.

I had a profound visceral response when I saw my dad's handwriting in a photo album I was looking through days after he passed. I came across a picture of me, my sister, and our cousin Heather sitting by a stream at our favorite family vacation spot in the White Mountains. Under the photo, my dad wrote, "three beauties by the creek." My heart opened up and I instantly felt connected to him. It was like looking at his face again, hearing his laugh, holding his hand. It took a while to come back around to using his handwriting for that first piece of handwriting jewelry I created for my sister. It was the immense emotions that came over me when I found his handwriting again almost a year later, that compelled me to make that ring for her. It was the laughter and tears, the memories, and the stories that came from that gift that made my sister and I realize that I had stumbled onto something.

In making jewelry with a person's handwriting, it is my intention that it will evoke the same response in you. Adorning each piece with your loved one's handwriting makes your jewelry autobiographical rather than presentational. The handwriting draws the wearer and admirer in, and begs of us to tell the story.