Where the Story Begins
Before there was ExVoto Jewelry, I was alone in a studio inside my home painting. Our youngest daughter, Madeline, for whom the “Maisy” necklace style is named, passed away at the end of 2007 from a brain tumor at the age of four. I needed something to do with my hands and so I picked up the paint brush I had left behind when my children were very young (raising small children did not allow me large portions of time to paint!) Texture and layers were two factors I kept playing around with. Eventually sheetrock mud was added to my painting process to create more texture to the canvas. Then cheesecloth, then pieces of metal. I ventured into mixed-media collage and my work became smaller and smaller in size. I used wooden boxes and small canvas-covered cubes to build the layers of sheetrock mud, paint, cheesecloth, old lace, pages from antique books, gold leaf, old keys and broken pieces of jewelry I found in antique markets. Eventually, I took some of these old jewelry fragments and strung them on chains I already had with a few other charms I had collected and maybe an old key too. People really responded to the jewelry I was wearing and ExVoto was born. The painting was therapeutic for me, but jewelry got me outside of my studio and connecting with people. I am thankful for the friends I’ve made along the way. Here is a look at some of my last collage pieces I made just before making the switch to jewelry.