Door Judy Onofrio
Treasures in boardwalk shops
My life-long obsession with collecting began in childhood when I spent my time by the Atlantic Ocean picking over the never-ending treasures that washed up on the shore. When summer was over and the tourists were gone, the Boardwalk shops opened up into a visual landscape of possibilities with sales on every trinket imaginable, from shark teeth earrings to the Pope framed in seashells. This was a time of discovery that has lasted my whole life. Growing up in the 1950’s I was attracted to and collected chunky costume jewelry. I was also heavily influenced by the jewelry of Miriam Haskell, Coro, Trifari, and Lisner, to name a few. My passion for collecting led me to flea markets, antique shops, international bead dealers, and into the basements of New York City’s garment district.
Treasures turned into brooches and bracelets
I turned my collections of objects not only into sculpture and wall reliefs but also into brooches. When my brooches and bracelets were beginning to happen, the voracious collecting informed the narratives embedded in what was for me a new twist in my work. The brooches were primarily figurative, telling stories of playful memories and slices of my daily life punched up with a sense of humor. They eventually evolved into larger-scale sculpture. Yet, the bracelets forked off in a more abstract direction, demonstrating my sheer love of beads while creating small worlds for myself to live in for the months I am working on them. To this day, I am still exploring the play between material, dimension, and surface in this medium.
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