Friday, August 21, 2009

Custom Oriel: A Heart for My Sister

A friend of mine asked me to make a custom oriel for one of her sisters, the one who lives in North Carolina. Her last trip there had been one of those life-affirming joyful moments, all three sisters were together, enjoying the air, the beaches, their husbands, and the time together. One day, while walking the beach, my friend found this little broken piece of shell, shaped like a heart:

She brought it back with her and asked me if I could make a necklace out of it, something that her sister could wear to remember their visit together. At first I wasn't sure what I could do, but I trusted that something would come to me. She suggested that I might make a shadow box for it. I picked a piece of pink, faded, vintage velvet ribbon for the heart shell to rest upon. I searched the net and found a picture of a pink sunrise over a North Carolina beach. I looked in my old Thesaurus and found words to form this phrase: "All the sisters forever love", then cut the phrases up and glued them over the beach picture. I liked how the pink of the ribbon and the pink of the sunrise seemed to cradle the heart and the sentiment. At first I thought I would build a shadow box for it, but I just took two pieces of glass, made a sandwich of the shell and images, and carefully wrapped it in copper foil, trying to keep even pressure on all of the sides. Soldered it, added decorative solder beading, added a dangle of a filigree heart charm and Swavorski beads, and a pewter star charm. This is what my friend said: "My sister loved her necklace and just as I suspected it made her cry! You did an awesome job. Picking the right photo, the right phrase, the right colors! Awesome and beautiful. You have an amazing talent! Thank you!" And thank you D. -- for giving me the opportunity to create something beautiful!


  1. omg!. that is beautiful!....u amaze me, virginia.

  2. oh that is really beautiful - and memorable
    i love the color of the vintage velvet against the shell

  3. From Lisbon (Portugal, sending congratulations for your amazing creativity which other than being beautiful it is also very much imaginative.

  4. Thank you so much Lady P and Isabel -- may your own creativity blossom and fill the world with sparks and beauty!