Neckpiece Series (1 - 7)

I wonder why we are so powerfully motivated to adorn ourselves. Children gather flowers and brightly colored trash, and fix the bits and pieces to their bodies. Our most ancient collective story runs parallel to this image of a child in the back yard gathering objects of seeming importance and secret significance. Explanations for the psychology underlying this most basic human behavior come to us from myriad academic disciplines offering analyses based on theories from self-empowerment and identity to kin group dynamics, sexuality and spiritual metaphor.  However, my interest in the act of self-adornment is decidedly naïve and purposefully narrow. I am interested in the act itself, and the history of the act as a motion, as an emotion, and as a story. This body of work, “Neckpieces 1-7”, is the archive my years of witnessing this story.

The structure of these pieces is based on the torc, or neck ring. Torcs date back to the 8th century BCE, but are most commonly associated with Celtic cultures dating from 3rd century CE. The pieces themselves began as computer-generated, three-dimensional models of a collarbone. They were then built through a rapid prototyping process (stereo lithography), rubber molded and cast in polyurethane resin. The tooth, bone and claw forms have been lost wax cast in precious metals, 18k gold and fine silver.

The combination of digital and traditional processes is important to the narrative of the body of work. Makers of wearable art operate within the digital, and often virtual, culture, just like everyone else. We bring our history forward with us keeping alive the most ancient methods to exist beside and within the most technologically advanced. The imagery, materials, functionality and processes used to create these pieces have all been chosen for the role they play in a visual representation of our history as makers and wearers of body adornment. The original teeth, claws and jawbone pieces, used to caste and fabricate the precious metal components, were found during an afternoon spent wandering a graveyard in Pennsylvania.