Monday, April 11, 2011


I have been researching primitive, tribal jewelry, trying to get that feel in my own work while still using recycled pieces and using  some of the bits and pieces I have picked up over the years while out junking around.  I have been studying the work of Ramona Solberg and going thru photos from  last years vacation to Wyoming and Montana.  In Cody at The Buffalo Bill Museum, they were having a special exhibit on Plains Indians. The clothes, the beadwork, all amazing. I couldn't take any photos in there, but I could sketch. And I made notes of color combinations, patterns, anything I could think of that could be used as inspiration when I got back home and was working on something.

When I found this lamp piece a couple of weeks ago in Phoenix I bought it knowing I was going to try to use it in a necklace. From studying things at the museums, I have no doubt that if a Native had found this piece laying on the prairie some where, it would have been used for something. Maybe a handle , maybe to decorate a weapon, but for something. So I tried to keep that in mind as I worked on this piece. I also made this a bit longer than I usually do, thinking more 'breastplate". Suprisingly, although it felt heavy and awkward while working on it, it isn't heavy to wear.  But it is big, and is definitely not for everyday wear.

I remember thinking while in the museum that the Native Americans were the original recyclers. They didn't waste anything . Two things that I saw that were my favorite examples of that were.........a warpaint kit that had been made out of a small shaving bag. (I think we can figure out that story) and the other thing that stuck with me was a beautiful deerskin shirt, painted, quill work, beadwork, and what at first glance I thought were small round mirrors.They  were actually pieces of tin cans that had been cut into small circles and sewn onto the shirt. It was stunning.  I am quessing that a can  was just something that was not to be wasted. Boy do we have a lot to learn!

Besides the lamp piece, I used some old steel cut links from my stash, two Tibetan prayer beads, and two carved Himalayan beads. ( at least I was told that's what they were) My sister Terri (an amazing bead artist ) gave me a huge stash of glass beads, silver beads, all kinds of fun stuff when she decided her eyes were done beading. The white beads are from her, made of bone. The closure is once again from  Industrial Chic.

OK, what do you think? Go ahead, I can take it.........Tribal? Primitive? Too Bulky? Sick of the Industrial Chic closures? Weird? Can't figure out my reasoning?????................. ( Keep in mind , I COULD take this apart and make a weapon :)   The beauty of this is I COULD take this apart and redo, or rethink the whole idea. So I welcome your comments and critique.

AND THE  MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL:  My grandson, Matthew........who will go junking with me at the drop of a hat, loves art, loves The beatles, and plays the drums, just turned 8 this past week.  Anyone that wants to wish him a Happy Birthday can do so in the comments at The Tin Palace Project.


  1. What a neat idea. I loved all the thought that went into this piece. Leave as is.

  2. Terri-the good one!April 12, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    Love,love it!
    I'd call it Northwest tribal greenpunk.
    Even if I didn't get your reasoning, I can admire the beauty and creativity.
    Is art meant to be "understood" or simply appreciated? I don't know.

  3. Simply fabulous, my kinda junk revival, love the tribal feel to it, would've never guessed it was a lamp part...I've simply got to go digging in my Grand Dads' basement...I know there's a treasure to be found there, there sure was when I was a kid!

    Perfect combination in my opinion, you inspire me to work on sumthin...oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Matt!!!

  4. This is a kick ass necklace!

    Happy Birthday, dear Matt.

  5. LOVE it. Of course you can wear it or drape it on a table or do whatever pleases you - it is gorgeous! Did you like Fatima's website? Isn't she something! So glad we like the same quirky, oh so interesting things!

  6. LOVE this Tribal piece and I do believe you got it right... I recently saw an Antique Tribal piece for sale at an Antique Store and I was amazed at how much it is like the re-purposed Jewelry now being made that is all the rage! I photographed it and will be using it in a future Post, because I was so tickled to see a Native American creation made perhaps a century or more ago that is so timeless it could be mistaken for a piece created today... obviously the Artist was ahead of his/her time! *winks* Will you be offering any of your Tribal Creations for Sale? I believe they would be well received, you have amazing Talent my Friend! And to think you got that great Lamp Piece from my neck of the woods. *smiles*

    Blessings from the AZ Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  7. Thanks for all the encouragement!! It was a bit scary to put it out there and ask for input. Whew!! You are all very kind.

  8. WOW! I love this! Is it coming for a permanent stay at the Tin Palace?? Hey- I can hope right! It is FABULOUS!