SADDAM MADE ME DO I T
For me, jewelry-making was more than a creative outlet, rather it was much-needed therapy as we endured the first Gulf War in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Saddam lobbed Scud missiles at night and the Coalition responded with Patriot missiles, sometimes intercepting the Scuds almost over our heads.
The next day we would go out into the surrounding desert and look for pieces, much like beachcombing, only our finds were made of titanium, silver, gold, aluminum, ceramic, and myriad other materials, along with computer circuit board, chips and other electronic bits (it became obvious why Patriot missiles cost $750,000 each). My first creation was an assemblage of bits into a pendant that I proudly wore on a chain as a talismanic ‘war medal’ (below).
It was widely admired, so I started combining other bits and pieces into ‘found object’ sculptures that could be worn as pins, pendants, barrettes and earrings. An article in the Arab News brought Kingdom-wide attention and all my pieces quickly sold. Though the war was short and our source of materials ran out, we were thankful that it was over.
With that I evolved into using handmade sterling silver beads, pendants and chain from Indonesia, SE Asia and the Middle East, along with semi-precious stones and tribal 'objets'. The rest, as they say, is history: Susan Stem Designs has been going strong since 1992.
(Sorry, but these pieces are from my personal collection and are not for sale.)
See my Collection for sale:
Inspired by Paloma Picasso
Yin and Yang