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Back in 2006, I decided I would like to wear a pendant with my children’s silhouettes – similar to a classic cameo necklace. Since I couldn’t find anyone who could make it quite the way I saw it in my head, I read books and asked experts and through many attempts and failures and trial and error (which seems to be my method all too often) I was very proud to have made my first oval, glass dome, lace edged pendant that I first began wearing in 2007. I thought it would be nice to wear to boutiques and silhouette events so people would know that I was the silhouette artist. But when the mothers began asking how much it would be to get one featuring their own children’s silhouettes, I realized I was on to something. The same thing had happened when I made myself a simple, porcelain ornament with my children’s silhouette featured front and center along with name and date. As soon as I showed a few people, everyone wanted to order one. This is when I realized that my reputation for being excessively sentimental and conventional was a common thread that I shared with my customers and helped me to be more intuitive as to what they’d like. So I pulled out note cards I had made for myself, enclosure cards I had used for the children’s birthday gifts, stickers I had made, the pillow that sat on my sofa, the mug I used for hot chocolate… all these items I had been slapping the silhouettes onto for my own enjoyment, and I introduced “a collection” from which people could order so they could see the images of their children’s charming silhouettes all over their own house.
Why silhouettes? There is a certain charm and mystery in a silhouette. It is a view of the person that they are not used to seeing, yet people who look upon them are very familiar with the side. It’s the view people see when they are being a spectator and observing what makes you so unique. As parents, it’s the view we see so often when we just sit and observe our child at play and we smile to see them content or in thought. We know every curve and the way they hold their mouth when they read a book, or build a tower of blocks. We know their posture and recognize their unique stance. I get so amazed at how incredibly unique a person’s profile is – it astounds me that basically, a black “blob” of paper, can be such an accurate, recognizable image of a specific person.
We all have photographs of our children that hang on the wall. Some photographs will stay on the wall for a year or two. Some may hang in a spot for several years. But photographs do become dated. At some point, you can tell that the photo is just old. The way they dress, the hairstyle, the background… so many factors. But a silhouette and yes, a painted portrait (my other favorite), will stay hanging on a wall for not just years, but generations! People will eventually take down the photograph of “Henry” in his baseball uniform, but “Uncle Henry’s” silhouette (or a painting of Uncle Henry)… that’s a work of art and it is an entirely different category.
I’ve been offering base metal jewelry and I’ve collaborated with professional jewelers to offer pendants in gold or silver as well. But now, allow me to present my new distinct line of fine jewelry that is fit for heirloom quality. It’s simple and understated. Beautiful and elegant. (All pieces protected by copyright and use silhouettes hand cut by Patti Rishforth in the traditional method as established in 18th century France.)