2017 Halstead Challenge

Copper, red brass, sterling silver, glass, photo, silk, dried flowers; cast, granulated, etched, and fabricated

3.5 x 3.75 x 0.25 inches

Photographed by artist; Inspiration photo by Milton Aaron


Last year, I received a letter from my mother’s first cousin, Teri.  She and my mother were very close.  Teri had discovered a small collection of old family photos when cleaning out a drawer.  As I opened the card she sent, spilling forth were 4 pictures of a familiar face.

I didn’t even read Teri’s note; I knew the little girl in the photos with that “Gerber Baby” face was my own mother, Jane. There she was: that perfectly round face, coming down the stairs of my grandparents’ porch wearing a white cotton dress. Another photo shows her in the backyard on the swing set.  A third has her emerging from the garden wearing only a cloth diaper. Lastly, there is a picture of my grandparents standing together with their two daughters — my mother Jane in Grandpa Miltie’s arms, and aunt Judy standing in front of Grandma Fannie with little cousin David.

I had never seen these photos, and to me, they are buried treasure rediscovered. Over the years, Teri has shared so many “treasures” of my mother with me keeping her memory alive: a “christening” gown that every baby boy has worn at their bris/baby naming since the birth of her son over 30 years ago; including my son in 2009; photos of childhood memories, and so many stories.

My mother passed away too soon, in 2007, very unexpectedly. Since then, I have been designing more and more “mementos” using family photos, both old and new. Upon seeing these photos for the first time, I knew right away I would be designing a pendant or brooch to forever enshrine these sweet moments. Before the Halstead Challenge, I had already created a pendant of my mother on the swing. As soon as I saw the announcement for “Memento”, my project had begun. It was all a matter of beating the rush to obtain one of the 200 Halstead kits. This is my first jewelry challenge, and I am excited to share this little bit of my family tree with you. Thank you for this opportunity.


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