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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Wedding Ear Wrap in Crystal and Gold
Elegance from my dear friend Page

The jewelry for my wedding consisted of three sets of items (four with the rings): the lovely 22k and pearl jewelry my boss loaned me; the beaded belt I spent a very great deal of time making; and this earwrap. Oh, and our wedding rings.

Earwraps have a particular meaning in my journey as bead artist. It was, as I've stated many times, science fiction, and specifically a friend whom I met at ConFusion, who took me to the Gem and Lapidary Shows, who taught me how to use bead tips and introduced me to the owners of the bead shop that would give me my first real job after college; but it was earwraps, at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, that inspired my friend Page to create jewelry as a business. —She did not, at that time, know how to string, so I taught her. This was her first product line, and something we both pursued. (That is, I copied her;)

Overall length, 7-3/8. finding, 33x47mm, 1mm wire: largest bead 14mm crystal (on 75mm dangle). gold-fill, austrian crystal, 2 and 6mm rock crystal (quartz), gold filled beads. Page Brunner, about 1987. collection of the artist.

Engineering training and a natural elegance of mind soon led her to outstrip me in terms of design, and she inspired me to try my hand at selling my beaded creations as well, and thus was the beginning of our partnership, loose at first, as well as considerably hampered by the rules concerning artistic collaboration, not to mention our completely different approaches to finances. (I am not a natural entrepreneur, always need three times as much material to even start experimenting with it, and have dreadful discipline about getting rid of pieces, supplies, etc no longer needed, besides the fact that I have no talent for keeping to a consistant line. These are all no-nos for running a successful business.)

Nevertheless our association has been enormously helpful to my artistic development. Take the earwrap shown above as an example. It would have never occurred to me to double the chain on the one dangle merely to give it adequate visual weight, because structurely (and financially) one length would've seemed to me enough. Or if it hadn't, I would've just substituted a heavier chain, losing the delicacy. Similarly, Page would sometimes triple up certain (expensive) beads for greater visual impact and smoother rhythm, whereas I would've cheaped out and tried to get by with one.

I recall one earwrap (made for the same friend to whom I gave the third beaded belt) as an example. This friend wanted Page to make a jumble of carved smokey quartz ( never topaz) pendants, along with other grey, black and brown beads. The dull subtle earthen color scheme repelled the jewel-tone loving Page, but I loved the carved leaves, and put a rather extremely clunky design together. Sensibilities engaged, Page immediately added a number of little beads, silver accents and other transitional elements to smooth the design out. It was an education and a pleasure to watch.

Eventually, earwraps fell out of fashion, even at Fez. But their legacy lives on, as in this beautiful piece, one of the finest I think Page ever designed.

stub, 30sep08; post 2oct08.


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