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 I am grateful that things are looking very good for her.

Kim Nogueira