Monday, September 5, 2011

Vitrine: Magnolia Bridge

Many years ago I fought and won an epic eBay battle for a 1920's souvenir pendant from Rio. Two glass discs were reverse-painted with the silhouette of the city's skyline and sandwiched together around slices of iridescent blue butterfly wing, which fill in for both sky and water. The whole thing was then fitted into a thin silver bezel, protecting the fragile contents.

I've always been mesmerized by souvenir jewelry--exotic materials and exotic forms combining into a portable talisman of some faraway place--but this pendant really got to me. I love both its particulars (the craggy shapes, the hot, shimmering blue) and its general mechanical principle, the fact that a couple of pieces of glass and a little silver could enable their ephemeral contents to survive a century and travel the continents.

So now I make my own vitrine pendants and my own, personal souvenirs. Over the last couple of years I've traveled much less than I used to, so the curiosity I once expended elsewhere now drives me to explore Seattle and to preserve my experiences by making stay-cation souvenirs.

This piece shows Elliott Bay and the Magnolia Bridge, as seen from my apartment window. In keeping with my Making Do challenge, it uses gold leaf given to me in England 15 years ago, and the wing of a blue Morpho butterfly that I've been carrying around since high school.

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