I continue to explore the ideas of vessels and containers.   In the studio the containers are varied.  There are jars that hold embellishments and pens and bins filled with paper, textiles and tools.  In a large, corner cupboard filled with a repurposed toy storage system are workshop supplies and stuff that I hope to turn into other stuffs.  And up on the wall are photo holders holding ephemera that I took out of drawers because I just needed to see.

I also view the journals that I create as vessels, waiting for my story and my ideas.  In IGNITE, the Fearless Painting teacher training, we are creating another sort of vessel.  The assignment was to create a sacred art piece, a reliquary, to hold the relics and discoveries of our journey through IGNITE.

This reliquary necklace was born out of a magnetic pull to the pendants that saw when I first began to research reliquaries from the Medieval & Renaissance period.  This was a shift from my first idea which was to use a storage cupboard that I have in the studio that contains small jars of beads and embellishments and houses jars of ink.  I liked the idea of relics in glass that I could look up and see rather than a box with things tucked away.

True confession:  I fought and fought this project.  I know nothing about jewelry making and the size of pendants initially seemed prohibitive.  But, I kept going back to the idea of lockets and charms as a way to document this journey and ultimately decided that the discomfort of learning something new was a small price to pay for listening to my inside voice and following my instinct.   So, I headed off to the store and came home with a bag full of empty lockets and lengths of chain.

Part of our assignment was to reflect on the source of the materials that we were using; it was in this process, that I settled.  Listing off the materials and tracking them to the earth began to reveal the draw and brought the work to life for me.

  •  Metals – Pendants made of brass, copper, and my beloved silver speak of support, borders/boundaries and are malleable.
  • Metal charms, which have always fascinated me and I’m looking forward to collecting, point to magic and whimsy.
  • Paper/Wood/Trees speak of words and voice.
  • Glass/Sand  point to transparency and transformation in the fire.


I’ve created pendants with bits of nature and poetry that represent our different assignments and discoveries and have a lovely collection of charms, that to me, document a truth learned or a milestone crossed.  I must mention that this piece, by definition of the assignment, is a piece of sacred art.  For me, that means that not only is the piece itself sacred, the process of creating this piece {which is ongoing} is sacred. I have said for years that I don’t separate my spiritual practice from my creative practice.  If something is sacred it is infused with the Divine and set apart.  And so, when I engage in the act of creating, I welcome the Divine and set the space apart.  For me that means entering my literal space with rituals and mindfulness, and tending to my internal spaces before, and as, I create.  Anything born out of that space and mindfulness is then sacred.