Lena Echelle

My family includes both ranchers and conservation biologists. My earliest memories are of playing outside in the red dirt and making “stuff.” Eventually, I studied fine art at Oklahoma State University, and after graduating in 2001 I began to develop a line of studio jewelry based on botanic forms. Until 2009, when my husband and I moved from Dallas, Texas, to a farm outside a small town in the mountains of Northwestern Argentina, I sold my work at juried art and craft fairs throughout the United States of America. In the last few years local materials have made their way into my jewelry. Since the pandemic, I have been part of a group documenting the native plants and historical trails that lead from our town high into the mountains.

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Real Pearl Necklace

Date of Creation: September 10, 2018

List of Materials: Goat droppings, fingernail polish, cotton thread.

Dimensions: 24 inches x 1/2 inch x1/2 inch

Photographer's Name: Lena Echelle

Model's Name: Pompis

Conceptual Statement: What makes some materials valuable, and others not? Appearance, scarcity, utility, weight? Cultured pearls are produced in an intensive farming environment, where small animals, bivalves, are forced open in order to insert a small object whose irritation invokes a defense mecanism in the animal, coating the object with layers of calcium carbonate. The bivalves often die from stress during the first opening or from the subsequent opening in order to extract the finished pearl. To make the "Real Pearl Necklace" I collected dung from the goats I raise on my farm in Argentina, then coated each "pearl" with various layers of fingernail polish, before stringing on cotton thread. This process with its similarities to commercial pearl production, calls into question the ethics and value of an iconic element of fashion and power.

befunky_2023-4-1_20-58-53.jpg

Real Pearl Necklace

Date of Creation: 10/09/2018

List of Materials: Goat droppings, fingernail polish, cotton thread

Dimensions: 24" x .5" x .5"

Photographer's Name: Lena Echelle

Model's Name: Pompis

Conceptual Statement: What makes some materials valuable, and others not? Appearance, scarcity, utility, weight? Cultured pearls are produced in an intensive farming environment, where small animals, bivalves, are forced open in order to insert a small object whose irritation invokes a defense mecanism in the animal, coating the object with layers of calcium carbonate. The bivalves often die from stress during the first opening or from the subsequent opening in order to extract the finished pearl. To make the "Real Pearl Necklace" I collected dung from the goats I raise on my farm in Argentina, then coated each "pearl" with various layers of fingernail polish, before stringing on cotton thread. This process with its similarities to commercial pearl production, calls into question the ethics and value of an iconic element of fashion and power.

befunky_2023-4-1_21-14-39.png

Real Pearl Necklace

Date of Creation: 10/09/2018

List of Materials: Goat droppings, fingernail polish, cotton thread

Dimensions: 24" x .5" x .5"

Photographer's Name: Lena Echelle

Model's Name: Pompis

Conceptual Statement: What makes some materials valuable, and others not? Appearance, scarcity, utility, weight? Cultured pearls are produced in an intensive farming environment, where small animals, bivalves, are forced open in order to insert a small object whose irritation invokes a defense mecanism in the animal, coating the object with layers of calcium carbonate. The bivalves often die from stress during the first opening or from the subsequent opening in order to extract the finished pearl. To make the "Real Pearl Necklace" I collected dung from the goats I raise on my farm in Argentina, then coated each "pearl" with various layers of fingernail polish, before stringing on cotton thread. This process with its similarities to commercial pearl production, calls into question the ethics and value of an iconic element of fashion and power.

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