STORY BY DAVID CLEWETT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAROL STERNKOPF
Sandy Anderson’s jewelry includes three distinct types of wearable art. She creates necklaces of spun paper and porcelain, abstract Crazy Bird pins and brooch assemblages of trouvailles or found objects. Her designs are influenced by 25 years in Hawaii where she taught art and was inspired by the richness of Hawaiian and Japanese cultures.
Contemporary in look, Anderson’s necklaces are reminiscent of ancient royal Hawaiian Pala’oa, adornments for chiefs which were made of braided hair and whale bone. Her necklaces continue that connection to nature with an earthy yet sophisticated appearance.
“The necklaces are regal and speak to tradition. They are made of Japanese mulberry paper which I spin into thread on a vintage spinning wheel and dye with natural indigo and other native plants. I make porcelain clasps and often add small hand-made porcelain netsuke-like sculptures similar to those that were used in the Edo period of Japan as fasteners,” Anderson said.
The Crazy Bird pins are created with a variety of vivid colors and simple shapes. Each bird seems to have its own character. It would be a challenge to wear one of Anderson’s birds without immediately having a cheerful and joyous disposition. They are fun, bright in primary colors and seeking to elicit a smile to the wearer and anyone who might encounter them.
From the deliberate placement of an eye, the shape of the bird’s body or the length of the legs, Anderson’s ability to create a bird character using only a few objects and bright colors is astounding.
“The Crazy Birds are pure whimsy. They are made of plexi, silver and found objects. I attach the parts using tiny nuts and bolts and wire. The technique is known as cold connections because no solder is used.”
When Anderson was heading off to a jewelry workshop at Penland, North Carolina her teaching partner at La Pietra School gave her the charge to create a nametag brooch.
“That was the beginning of a lot of fun. I began making name pins for my peers incorporating personal ephemera,” offered Anderson.
Anderson’s found object brooches are made of components found in antique and junk shops. The small toys and trinkets that once held a place in someone’s heart and were later discarded are rediscovered in her work. It is her uncanny ability to make art from randomness that leads to the beautiful results.
Since many of Anderson’s trouvailles come from yesteryear there is often an aged industrial look. Compasses, brass keys and copper fittings are added to the silver foundation for the final design. Anderson’s found object brooches frequently feature a door with discretely hidden text or images behind it, perhaps a piece of literature or a drawing which contributes to the entire motif.
“Doors and windows are tempting,” Anderson said. “They impose a sense of mystery and intrigue. I like to have a hidden meaning just beyond reach.”
All of her pins and brooches are made with a hands-on approach that begins with gathering items of possibility, then exploring textures, surfaces, colors and materials. She cuts silver for the frame, fits clear plexi to it and composes the collage. The piece is completed using the cold connection technique.
Anderson is represented in the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, as well as private collections in Japan, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.
Anderson’s jewelry is available by contacting Anderson directly at email@example.com