Studio 29 - Cameron Johnson

Category / Medium:  Jewelry

Favorite nearby restaurant:  Fire and Hops


This airy collection of jewelry, called "Strands," began with a clover flower chain. 

This activity from my girlhood is embedded in my mind — pushing a fingernail through the stem, feeding an end through the opening like a needle’s eye, and gently repeating until that delicate loop came together as a necklace, bracelet, ring or crown. Over the course of the day, the chains would shrivel, dry, fall apart or disappear. I threaded more. The bees danced around my head.

You’ll notice that this core concept of chain or garland informs the selection of shapes, symbols and patterns that emerge. My process involves not only the physical: research, material selection, assembly, trial and error, balance, aesthetics — but also takes on a form of storytelling and spirituality: language, function, meaning, and meditative repetition. The pieces of strands are vehicles made up of a selection of building blocks, with beads or amulets representing “substance” and links or loops representing the “space” between that allows them to breathe and be seen. Sometimes the open chain simply speaks for itself. The pieces suspend, calm, connect, and remind us of the origins of the materials that they are made from — the tree, the being’s bones, the metals buried deep, or the stones turned from underneath.