Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Art of Awareness Blog Hop

Good day and thanks for joining me (on my very neglected blog) for The Art of Awareness Blog Hop hosted by the lovely and talented Lori Anderson of Pretty Things and Heather Wynn Millican of swoondimples. I was excited when Lori announced that she and Heather were collaborating on this hop. Lori, as many of you may know, is very well known for putting together fabulous bead soup swaps. I've been honored to participate for a number of years and have had such a good time, each and every time. I've made some lovely internet friends through this experience. Lori has been battling the devastating disease, Lyme Disease, for the last few years. It can be completely debilitating. She's shared her struggles with her internet friends and I honestly can't begin to imagine living through the debilitating issues she's enduring. She is a fighter though, and consistently tries to look for the good and the bright side. Lori, I applaud you for your strength and courage! Heather is a talented artist who makes artisan polymer clay beads and components; she has a very unique, identifiable style. I own a couple and was very excited to get my custom component from her for this hop.

Organ donation awareness is extremely important to me and my family. If you've read my blog before you're well aware of our hero, our beautiful T.J. If you're not, I have a page about him, take a look if you have a few minutes. We lost our beautiful boy eleven years ago last Saturday, only that day it was Mother's Day. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury a few days before; he was 19. There was no hope of recovery for him - not one that was any kind of life. T had registered to be an organ donor when he earned his drivers' license the fall prior to his death. Through T.J.'s heroic gift of life 5 people who were dying because they were in need of major organs are alive; 2 people who were going blind can see; countless others have benefited from his bone and tissue donations. There are so many people on waiting lists for organ donation. Please, if you haven't considered becoming a donor previously become one now. We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful boy, but we are profoundly proud of the fact that in his death he was able to help so many people - to give them a second chance. How many happy families are there out there that he has impacted? We'll probably never know, but it does our hearts and souls good to know that he lives on, not only in our hearts and minds, in such a profound way.
Above are some components in progress. I can't even look at that beautiful piece of amethyst sea glass - I broke it trying to put jam a too thick, curved piece of wire through it..... 
Well, if you're still with me (thank you for indulging me) let's get on with the hop! I asked Heather to create a "donate life" stick for me in green for organ donation. The current colors for donate life awareness are a very bright green and blue. The bright green isn't my thing. When T passed, it was a dark green (I've actually worn a dark green awareness bracelet, every day, for the past eleven years), so I opted for a color in-between that I'd like to wear often. I love the stick, it's perfect!
Attached to it is a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority token that I've had forever and ever. I think that big, prominent T is just perfect attached to the donate life stick.
 The 3 sweet flower bezels are from Tracy Bell of Copper, Glass and Recycled Trash. Tracy makes the best stuff! I've had these bezels for the longest time, waiting for just the right project. I filled them with green and brown sea glass tinies and I crushed a piece of mussel shell for the third. I love the colors. However, when the resin was added a bit of the detail was lost and it makes the green and brown glass look like a solid transparent lump and the mussel shells darken (which I knew they would, but I didn't think they would so much - I took this pic in sunlight so you could see the colors). Bummer...
I've also used vintage lucite cubes from The Beadin' Path (boy do I miss that shop...), vintage mother of pearl buttons I picked up at Tinsel Trading in NYC (oy, what an amazing place!), Swarovski crystal bicones, and silver filled wire (bonded to white brass, not copper so it looks like sterling silver) from Unkamen Supplies on Etsy (he's great, I bought supplies from him for the bridesmaid jewelry for my son and daughter-in-law's wedding).
This is a tiny glass vial that I filled with tiny sea glass pieces, then foiled and soldered, below that that is a soldered piece of brown sea glass.
The clasp is also a piece of sea glass, green, that I foiled, soldered and added a hook to the back. I rubbed a tiny bit of coconut oil onto both the green and brown pieces of sea glass. It gives it a nice glow and brings the color out (it does not go rancid, so it's a good choice). The little silver toned spacers are from Michael's. I think they're little daisies, but I'm preferring to think of them as sunflowers, which is a symbol for us of T.J. As I was pulling items out (you should see my studio presently), I pulled out a couple of vials of sterling silver coated and copper seed beads that I've had forever. Oh my gosh, I can't believe what I paid for these years ago (I'm sure they'd be a lot more today)! Thankfully I had the discount at The Beadin' Path!
Sorry, Blogger is rotating some of my photos and I can't figure out how to rotate them back..... 
The heart pendant started out as a pottery shard that I picked up on one of my many beach walks. The heart is a reminder of T.J.'s huge, beautiful, loving heart and the life that he was able to give another. 
Overall, I'm very happy with this necklace; it needs a little bit of tweaking and I'll work on that. It does flip a bit though, so I need to figure out a way to keep the bezel/button sections facing front (I think it's a weight thing). If you have a suggestion, suggest away!

So grab a cuppa' and hop along with these creative souls to see what's close to their hearts that they'd like you to know more about:
Millican (hostess) (bead artist)
Laurie Vyselaar
Mallory Hoffman
Evie and BethMcCord


  1. Lori, this is a beautiful tribute to a fine young man's life! I read his page. What a great kid! I can feel your pain to lose him so young. But what a wonderful legacy he has left! He has touched other lives in ways he never knew. Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Your necklace is so lovely. All the different bits and pieces come together to make beautiful story. I've been a supporter of organ donation since I got my first driver's license and could check the box on the form. It's such an amazing thing that one family's loss can bring life and health to so many others.

  3. What a gorgeous piece with so many meaningful elements. I love that you made so many of the elements! Thank you also for bringing awareness to organ donation. It's a great thing to be able to give life or sight or other medical help to someone in the face of tragedy. TJ truly is a hero.

  4. I LOVE your gorgeous many amazing components all in one piece! Thanks for sharing your story behind it too. TJ was a very mature, compassionate young man to support organ donation at such a young age. What a gift he was to those individuals and their families!

  5. Your design and the process of putting it together is so beautiful! What a beautiful way to honor your son. He is definitely a hero to have saved so many people. I am definitely an avid supporter of organ donation and research. I recently re-registered (somehow it didn't go through at the DMV) at the local hospital I work out during a campaign they had. I'm actually alive today because of research. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  6. Beautiful piece - thank you for sharing TJs story. The necklace you made is so thoughtful and touching!

  7. Thank you for sharing TJ's story. The necklace you made is a beautiful tribute to him, and you are so very right about signing that donor card.

  8. Beautiful piece, your design and the amount of thought that went into it are amazing. It's a wonderful way to honor your son. I am also a supporter of organ donation. It's a great cause to draw awareness to.

  9. An amazingly lovely and personal piece. I love hearing the story behind each and every element. It makes the finished article so much more special and meaningful. And gosh, you are just an amazing person to turn such a tragedy into something more than simply that! I have such admiration for you. I am signed up as an organ donor here in the uk, and have been since I was about 6 when my parents explained to me why it was so important. Hats off to you.

  10. What a moving story, thank you so much for sharing. I cannot imagine how devastated you and your family must have been after your son passed away. I admire you for your strength. My uncle is able to live thanks to a kidney transplant. I so wish my dad was healthy and strong enough so he could have had a kidney as well as a heart transplant. So yes, I have signed up as an organ donor a long time ago, as I know how important that is. Your necklace is so beautiful and a love each and every element. Thank you

  11. What an incredibly beautiful story, I have three littles and this made me cry for you. But you are right, it's wonderful that he was able to help so many! I signed up to be an organ donor as soon as I got my license. Big hugs for you! Your piece is absolutely beautiful!

  12. Yes, organ donation awareness is SO IMPORTANT. When my mother died most of her organs were donated, either to other people or for research, as she wanted. The feeling that her death at least saved the life of others made the pain a little easier to bear with. I wish more people realized this. Thank you for choosing this cause and for sharing this beautiful necklace with us.

  13. I think this is wonderful. I was an organ donor, but now I've decided to donate my body to science so they can see, in the brain in particular, what Lyme disease does. I'm a big advocate for organ donation. I'll never forget when the MediVac landed in our neighborhood park on Christmas to take our neighbor for a lung transplant. That was a truly miraculous Christmas.

  14. Thank you for sharing your touching story, what a beautiful sentiment to your son, your hero. What an important message to make us aware of. Yes "Donate Life" You necklace is beautiful and so meaningful.

  15. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. I know you must be missing him so much. It was very thoughtful of him to become a donor. The piece you made is beautiful. I have been a donor since the first time I got my first drivers license.

  16. I am so sorry for your loss that you turned into such a beautiful legacy. I have tears in my eyes as I am reading your story. Thank you for sharing your story. Your necklace is amazing!

  17. Oh, this necklace is so cute! I really love that wonderful green color and the heart. Thanks to my writer from who suggested me to visit this blog!

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