Today’s necklace is complex, layered and asymmetrical. I created it about six years ago. It is strung on Mastex cording, with chain, shell beads, an Elaine Ray charm or two. The head on the lower right-hand side is a Bakelite Cracker Jack charm from the early part of the 20th century. When you pull the dog’s collar it’s eyes bug out and the tongue wags. That carved ivory elephant was given to me by a Chinese bead vendor I used to work with. He spoke next to no English and we communicated mostly through calculations on an HP calculator he kept in his back pocket. One time when I visited him I told him I was pregnant (with my daughter, Cleo, now eight) by pantomiming a baby and a big belly. He laughed and dug out that elephant for me. “Good luck’ he said. Of course, I bought a big, long strand of the elephants but I saved this one for the necklace.
This necklace is an example of an unfinished object. There are long, loose strings of Mastex cording hanging down the back. There is a button and a hook for a proper closure, but I never trimmed the Mastex. I intended to add counterweight strands on the back, but the necklace isn’t really that heavy. Somehow I still can’t bring myself to trim the strands. I don’t know why. They aren’t especially attractive; actually they cause people to say ‘you have a string on your back’ at least once every time I wear the necklace. I should cut the strands or string them with beads to make the counterweights.