Revisiting an Old Friend, Peter Pan

June 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm (Art Unravelled, Artist Musings, Work in Progress) (, , )

IMG_1391 (3)“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” from J.M. Barrie]

In October 2007, I premièred a series of pieces inspired by J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan for a solo exhibition at Artspace entitled Beyond Neverland. Included in the exhibition was a necklace I called the Peter Pan Heart. Stamped into the fabricated silver heart pendant, in J.M. Barrie’s handwriting, is the following: “When the first baby laughed for the very first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”

A few months later, I took the piece to New York for the Holiday Crafts Park Avenue show at the Lexington Avenue Armory. There, I met a woman named Lisa who bought the Peter Pan Heart. I have always said that I never know who I make a piece for, but when that person puts the piece on for the first time, I know. The Peter Pan Heart was made for Lisa.

I duplicated the heart pendant a few times, but always wondered what happened to the first exhibition piece.

Two weeks ago, Lisa called me in a panic.  Her Peter Pan Heart, one of her favorite pieces of jewelry, had been damaged during what she called a “closet explosion”. She asked if she could send the piece back to me for repair and talked about the joy it had given her over the past seven years.

Last week, I received the broken necklace. As I emptied the contents of the inconspicuous manila envelope onto my studio table, it was like being reunited with an old friend.

Transferred to each bead is a piece of Barrie’s handwritten manuscript. There are fourteen of my image transfer beads on this piece, and as I re-strung the necklace, every bead unlocked a memory, reminding me not only of who I am at heart, an artist, but why as artists, we do what we do. Thank you, Lisa for the reminder. Your piece is on its way home.

All of the pieces created for the Beyond Neverland exhibition, including the Peter Pan Heart, were made with permission from The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. In 1929, J.M. Barrie left all the rights to Peter Pan to the hospital. His gift is a vital source of income for the hospital. In 2007, the hospital granted me permission to use Barrie’s images in my work for a period of five years.



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