memento mori

This will be one of two memento mori pendants for Brumfield Gallery's Narrative Jewelry Show in July

I volunteer for a licensed avian rehabilitator here on St John, a most amazing woman, who I call the bird whisperer.  She had an injured and emaciated red-tailed hawk in for care, who she stabilized as much as she could in 5 days, and then gave to me for 3 weeks because she had a flight to catch for medical tests off-island.  This very ill bird was the first raptor I have ever worked with, and it was an honor to have her here with me, a very challenging honor.  According to my father, I am "a quarter American Indian", and I avoided at first investigating what possible meaning the hawk's visit could have.  It's an emotional experience and tremendous responsibility care-taking such an ill and beautiful raptor to begin with; I wasn't ready for any more to think about, not until she stabilized a bit more, which I was so happy that she did.  Then I did a bit of reading and became overwhelmed by what I found, especially the unusual connections to work I have made this year, and thoughts about how I was seeing the world but missing the vocabulary to describe it.  The above pendant, in the process of being made, and its companion piece, not shown, are directly a result of this hawk's visit. These two pieces together are called memento mori: the earth is my body.  The hawk is now with the bird whisperer Phyllis, who has returned to island and brought the beautiful hawk even further along in healing, and things are looking very good for her :)

Kim Nogueira