I hadn’t planned on watching the inauguration, but I did. Frankly, because I thought Justin Timberlake would be there. Seems superficial, but the pendulum swing from Obama’s second inauguration to Trump’s first was vomit inducing and I wanted JT to bring the beat back.

It’s been a week since the much anticipated (yet secretly terrifying) event. There was much to love, inspiring moments, and the occasional shadowy reminder of reality. The comfort of having the oldest president ever is the assumption he’s fully aware of Hitler’s failed coup attempt in 1923.
As the inauguration went on, I felt my body relaxing and I looked at Kamala Harris’s necklace and thought "I used to make pearl jewelry. Why did I stop?" When the ceremony was over, I came up to my studio (which for almost a year has been my husband's full-time office) and made a few simple pearl pieces.
Seems I wasn’t the only who felt relaxed enough to take a gander at pearls since the internet blew up with Kamala Harris's pearls and converse combo. I have to laugh when the fashion industry calls it the “Hot Spring/Summer Trend of 2021”.
Pearl jewelry has been around for a long time. 
These paintings are Fayum portraits. They were found in a cemetery in Fayum, 150 miles south of Alexandria, dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries AD when Rome ruled Egypt. The portraits were painted on wood and placed on the associated mummy. They are beautifully haunting and a treasure trove of inspiration.

As my mind and body relaxed more from the grip of national dread, I remembered I had been cataloguing pearl jewelry on my travels.

At the National Galleries Scotland in Edinburgh, I was inspired by the necklaces in portraits of Stuart family women from 1605... 

..and portraits of merchant's wives in the Amsterdam Museum.

Then the emotional/art historical flood gates opened and I remembered the (wish list) mosaic of Theodora in the Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy...

..and Bodhisattva in the Ajanta Caves in India.

Pearls are ancient, universal, and magical. I made the most simple pieces, to ease myself back into the dreamy world of creativity and am eager to design new pieces (especially with the baroque pearls).

Seeing Madam VP and Gaga and JLo and Amanda Gorman was an immense relief. They were a reminder of hope. Looking at photos of far away lands doesn’t make me long for what was, but remind me there is still a beautiful world of strength, poetry, music and art waiting for us. 

For now, we can enjoy it by ourselves. Someday, we will enjoy it together. And when that day comes, maybe Justin Timberlake will go on tour.

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