Big Beaded Felt Necklace

Linda May


Linda May Studio
Philadelphia, PA, United States

1.5 x 1.5 x 18 inches

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It’s no accident I make textile jewelry. I’ve been sewing all my life. In high school I could start a dress in the morning and wear it that night on a date. I taught myself metalsmithing to give the textile jewelry heft and presence.

I’m a Ph.D. anthropologist. I did fieldwork in India, where the textiles are intense and people combine strange bright colors in ways that surprised me. To quote legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, “Hot pink is the navy blue of India.” I’ve worked as an applied anthropologist all my life, most recently as a partner in a management consulting firm. I started a jewelry business, Linda May Studio, to circle back to working with textiles and color more directly.

I make exuberant textile jewelry. It's jewelry with attitude, for women who want a big look, a lot of necklace. I love color you can feel. My Philadelphia studio clatters with trays of bright beads and bins of warm felt. With needle and thread, I meticulously hand stitch each tiny glass bead to the felt. I make the big silver chain by hand.

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