This blog post was written by Melinda Johnson, author of Piggy in Heaven which releases today!
One of the hardest things about death is the end of physical presence. All of your love is still present in your heart, but it loses the tangible outlets it once had. You can no longer hug your loved one, see that wonderful smile, hear that infectious laugh. You can’t run to open the door, or cook a favorite food to share. Your heart is full, but your arms are empty.
Imagination can be a healing tool when we grieve, and it’s one children turn to easily. Losing a pet is often the first time a child encounters death. In fact, that’s what prompted me to write Piggy in Heaven. It was the story my family needed as we mourned our adorable guinea pig.
Now that this story has become a book, I am touched and delighted (and sometimes on the verge of tears, just for a minute) at the hilarious, adorable, beautiful creativity this book has inspired among my artist and crafter friends. One drew a pattern and sewed a Piggy plushy from scratch. Another made finger puppets of each character, to give you “a hand” while reading and telling the story. And my friend Meghan Inlow, jewelry designer and mompreneur at VioletandVines [https://www.etsy.com/shop/VioletandVines]
, offered a bespoke, limited-edition “Piggy in Heaven” bracelet. It’s something sparkly and tangible to hold, something to hang those memories on. Today I’m interviewing Meghan about how this bracelet came about.
1. First, tell me about your creative process when you are making a piece like this.
I feel like there is so much chaos in our lives. I want each piece that I make to provide joy, inspiration, and a sense of calm to the person wearing it. So picking out the flowers for each piece, or greenery, the shape of pendant they are hand placed in – all elements are gathered to create that calm and inspiration. The same was done with the bracelet for Piggy. I wanted something that encompassed the book as well as a tangible way to give comfort to the child receiving it.
2. What are the elements of this bracelet, and how did you choose them?
The bracelet that I designed and crafted for “Piggy in Heaven” includes gold sparkles, feathers, and resin, all mixed in and cradled with crystal beads in between the hand-made beads. I wanted something to represent the heavenly aspect of the book, and I wanted it to embody peace for the child who receives it. So after playing with a few different designs, it was finalized with these elements as well as a hand-painted charm at the bottom of the bracelet.
3. How did your perspective as a mom come into play for this piece?
As a mom, if my child lost their beloved pet, I thought about what would bring them a little joy and peace, but also what would be a tangible way to help comfort them. As a parent, I feel like the goal and thought was, “How do I make this time of grieving a little bit easier for my child, is there something I could give them to help them remember and feel close to their lost furry friend?”
4. Your jewelry is a wonderful example of art and nature intersecting with each other. What got you started using natural materials in your jewelry?
The beauty and diversity of nature is something that is so important for me to place into my jewelry. I dabbled with different jewelry styles, but when I started mixing flowers with resin, they flowed together almost like a painting, and I knew that I was sold in creating nature-inspired and infused pieces.
5. People often have special memories attached to their jewelry. Why do you think that happens?
I believe that people have memories attached to their jewelry because jewelry is usually a special and important gift given. For example, when I was 16, my grandparents gave me earrings they had created for me. I have a pendant that my Grandmother gave me before she passed away, and my engagement ring is laced with all those special memories including my husband and when we prepared to start our lives together. All of these beautiful memories are created around special and unique pieces of jewelry.
6. What do you love most about your creative work?
Making jewelry fulfills an extra sense of purpose within me. It helps to relieve stress, helps me to focus on prayer, and I’m able to create wearable art and bring peace, joy, and inspiration to others. There’s also one of the bracelet by itself, if needed.
Meet Meghan Inlow!
I am a mom of 3 kiddos currently residing in Pennsylvania while my husband is working on his Master’s degree at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. I was born and raised in California, and our family converted to the Orthodox Church about 6 years ago. I have always had a passion for art and grew up in an artistic household. I began doing water-color painting in 2014, which opened my eyes to different types of art I had never tried before. About a year ago, I started entering the world of jewelry making. I started with essential oil diffuser jewelry, then moved on to wire-wrapped pendants, then finally found my niche with resin and dried flowers. Each piece inspires me, and I love the way the flowers flow differently with every pendant. I never thought I would have a passion for jewelry making, but I was pleasantly surprised. I am so thankful to be part of this sweet story, and I am glad I get to share my art and creative love with everyone.