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  • Ellen Hunt

Jewelry and Travel

Still Life with Zora necklace.  Photo by Tessa Hunt

Jewelry and Travel

I've been home for the past two weeks or so and it feels great. For the first time I went to retail fine craft shows this year, in DC and LA. If you haven't been to either the

Contemporary Crafts Market

or the American Fine Craft Show

you are missing an unbelievable display of talent and creativity. I was so thrilled to be included in the company of truly gifted craftspeople, and my trips were well worth the effort. I spent most of the summer casting and fabricating, getting ready for these shows. The website was redone, new photography courtesy of the amazingly talented Ursula Barker

were turned into booth banners and email postcards for the show. I was able to fit everything into two large suitcases, each under the allotted 50 lb limit. And I was thrilled to have my family and friends come by to visit, booth sit, help set up and take down.

So for about three weeks, I was away for 5 days a week, there was an extra family trip thrown in there for good measure, too. Oh, and a national election too. Being in DC in October, a few weeks before the election was surreal. We tried to get into the busiest place in town, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Having an extra few hours to spare one day we got in line, only to miss getting tickets by about 20 people. I had a great time standing in line for a few hours, chatting with my new friends in line and my sister and cousin. We ended up across the street, at the display of the First Lady's ball gowns. It was quite impressive. You would never have know that there was a campaign going on as a tourist.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I'm in LA, the election was earlier in the week, and I live in a blue dot in the center of a huge red state, Texas. The first day of the show, there were people who took one look at my booth sign, which had my home state on it, and turned away. So, my sign got altered, safety pins were added to my jewelry wardrobe and the rule of "no politics in the booth" was put aside for people who wanted to talk. A lot of the work I do as an architect revolves around preservation activities in historically underserved communities, mostly African American and Hispanic. Some of my jewelry reflects the work I do as an architect, and I am very proud of that. I always tell the stories behind my pieces, and more than ever I think it's important that we ascribe meaning to the artifacts of our life. Am I crazy to design a necklace around a novel or a landscape? As the saying goes, all work is political.

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