Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday cheer

Happy Holidays to you all!

I know that holiday shopping for the perfect gift creates a TON of unnecessary stress; especially when faced with the perceived pressure to buy for people you don't even like (!). I'd love to say, just refrain. But I know that most people have their hearts in the right place. This post is for you. 
Most of you don't know this, but my "day job" is as an assistant manager at Target. The holidays, while joyful for some, are hell for anyone who works retail. It's ugly, stressful and we deal with a lot of unhappy people. We have no life during 4th quarter, so it's extremely difficult to be full of cheer like the rest of the population. We're a cynical bunch. That being said, I love the decorations and the trees and the tacky lights and the scented candles and the food and drinks! But mostly the drinks! 
I have a good day when I'm able to connect with someone who's shopping for less fortunate kids, or spending time with a grumpy old lady who eventually warms up to you, or when I'm able to help a woman pick out the clothes her husband will be buried in (true story). It's about compassion. 

This is partly why I've decided to reboot My Precious Studio in 2012. I want to create jewelry that is meaningful and special. Not just purely fashion anymore. My 15th Anniversary is around the corner so I've been cooking up some new ideas: a re-designed website, editing down my current lines, adding a Reliquary line, a line of wedding/commitment bands, a men's line, and a pet tag section. These are just some of the things I'm working on for the new year.

On a side note, I will be having hand surgery on my left thumb in early January. Yes, hand surgery. On my hand. I will have a lot to keep me busy while I recover and should be back in the studio February. 

Still looking for a special gift?  I'm having a rare 15% off sale in my Etsy shop. It's happening NOW through SUNDAY DECEMBER 18th (ends at midnight Eastern time). All orders will ship on Monday. Just enter coupon code: OHMYPRECIOUS15 at checkout.

Folks in or near Richmond, VA can shop for some more of my jewelry (and other locally made goodies) at the Bizarre Market Holiday at Chop Suey Books in Carytown. The shop's upstairs and is open through December 24th.

Be kind and stay healthy! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Think Small 6

"I Savor Her Final Breath"
3" x 1 3/4'
glass, dahlia petals, ash, paint, cork

This is my piece for the ThinkSmall6 exhibit here in Richmond, VA. 

Made in honor of my Mother. 
Somber. Wistful. Morbid. Serene. Comforting.

Some may remember this reliquary I made a while back. I just adore these pieces and have been collecting little bottles in order to create a series of them.

On view now through December 18th at Artspace Gallery.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Life Before Death

To know me is to know that I think of death as often as I think of life.
You can't have one without the other.
I'm naturally drawn to those things that help us remember the lives we've lost.
Remembering helps keep them alive to us and, if we're lucky, enables
us to live our lives with a little more passion.

A friend passed along this link to me and I needed to share it.
It's full of internal struggle, pain, anger, faith, inner peace and acceptance.
Truly moving and beautiful portraits before and after death.


Friday, July 15, 2011


My Dad, Carlos Hernandez Chavez, painted this amazing portrait of my abuela, Teresa.
She died peacefully today in Mexico, surrounded by family. 
It's truly a privilege to be with your loved ones when they take their final breath on this earth.
I'm glad my Dad was able to make the trip to be with her.
My love goes out to my aunts and uncles and those that loved her.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It only feels like summer

fresh blackberries from my back yard

speckled glass ornaments adorn a friend's porch

ornamental iron work. it's everywhere in RVA.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Heart Skulls

Everyone in Richmond, VA has skulls on their minds. Why? Because June 4th is the first annual Skull Appreciation Day! 
And to celebrate, Noah Scalin (of skull-a-day fame) and Philip Cheney have curated a grand exhibit to be held at Gallery 5. It opens tomorrow, June 3rd, and features 100+ skulls designed by artists all over the world (mine, included). We were all sent the same paper mache skull base to work from and the results promise to be fantastic. Hope to see you there! 
Frankie also hearts skulls

some more skullinks:
watch the video at
read the article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
and for your listening pleasure

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So much loss

I recently attended a viewing for a co-worker's father who had died suddenly. It's always interesting to me to see how differently each person acts around such events. It was quiet and somber but very few people walked up to the casket. Some wouldn't even stand in the same room. Yes, I did go up to pay my respects. Having never met the man, I was curious about him. His family had lots of photos around and his casket was adorned with flowers and badges and a beautiful walking cane was placed by his side. I whispered a little something and walked away.

It was such a contrast to my mother's viewing. We had singing, laughter, crying, kids running around and congregating at the casket. We touched her and spoke to her. And we took lots of photos, which I know isn't common. But that's how we roll. 
The whole experience just made me want to reflect on all the losses my husband, his family and I have experienced in the past month.

It started with Uncle Eddie. He had a sudden heart attack and was gone. There was no service. I'll remember him sitting in the background during family gatherings, making jokes.

The next week we lost Monkey. This whole situation makes me angry. He was a super friendly cat who discovered our porch and wouldn't leave. He was affectionate and docile and he just had to belong to someone who missed him. We bonded with him instantly, but wanted to do the right thing to reunite him with his people. The vet suggested animal control because they could scan for a microchip and would hold him the 10 days required by law before sending him to a no kill shelter. I called everyone missing a black cat on craigslist. I posted on the neighborhood blog. We both knew that if he wasn't reclaimed, we would bring him home. When they came to pick him up, he was sitting on my lap on the porch, so content. I cried. I didn't want him to go. My husband called to see if he could visit him and they said yes. The very next day, Charlie went to visit but they said he had died overnight of an apparent heart attack. What the fuck?!? Our guilt will never go away and I don't think I can ever trust the shelter again. 


Monkey chillin'

The next week got even harder. Charlie's beloved grandmother died. Mamita was loved by all and was the matriarch of his large family. She was funny as hell, with a sharp wit, and adored her grandkids almost as much as her pets. Actually, Charlie was her favorite. The first time we ever met, I was tagging along with Charlie to bring her a new dog from the shelter. Her joy was unmistakable. In the end, she lost her fight with Alzheimers.  We attended a mass at the nursing home where she died and Charlie gave a moving eulogy. I'll miss that woman. Rest in peace, my dahling.

Charlie and Mamita share a moment

Then, the very next week we met Blue. He was a sweet grey kitty who visited us every now and then. Last time we spotted him he looked healthy and had on a flea collar. Cool, someone was taking care of him. A month or so passed by and no sightings. Then he showed up at our door. He had on a different colored flea collar, but it was painfully obvious that he was neglected.  He was emaciated and had a terrible eye infection. But he was affectionate and allowed us to clean his eyes and apply ointment. He ate and hung out and was starting to talk to us. I called our trusted vet and dropped him off for a checkup. Bad news. He weighed a mere 5 lbs, had a fever and he had leukemia. Fuck. We discussed all our options and finally made the heartbreaking decision that euthanasia was the most humane option. Dammit. Dammit. 
I picked him up the following day and we buried him in our backyard. We picked a nice sunny spot for him and will plant some flowers at his grave. 

little boy Blue

little boy Blue enjoys some sun

Piper Rose paying her respects at  Blue's funeral

RIP little one

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Week 34 relic

flies found together on my windowsill.

Gross, yes. But you'll enjoy my reliquary...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Week 33 reliquary

I'll admit that this one was difficult. It took me a long time to finally cut the tape and open the box. I was afraid to touch the earrings. They are imbued with her energy; her final breaths. I didn't want it to escape. But I eventually mustered the courage to open it.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Five Years

some of Mom's cremains with a yellow rose I got for her when she died

yes, a canning jar. If you knew her, you'd know how appropriate this really is

Today is the 5 year anniversary of Mom's death. It sucks, I'm sad, life goes on.

I thought that today I would share my own personal reliquary with you. This is really where my passion lies; creating personal memorials, reliquaries, mourning jewelry.

Before Mom died, we talked about me making an urn necklace for her ashes. In a letter, she told me she had a dream that it was heart shaped. Okay, I can do that.
After a few months, I started some sketches. I'd need certain elements that related to her: a heart, a bird, and something cheeky. So the final design became a heart shaped urn with a carving of a bird. The bird is holding a banner that reads "I'm her favorite". The running joke between us 9 kids. I think she really meant it when she told each of us that we were her favorite.
but it was really me.

On the back, I carved a little epitaph:
Love Never Dies
Herein lies Georgianne V. Hernandez
10.24.46 - 2.10.06
beloved mother, sister, aunt and friend

Here's the original wax model I carved:

I then had a mold made from my wax model. From there, I had the pieces cast in sterling silver. 

Once I had them all polished and ready for the ashes, I decided to webcam 2 of my sisters. At the time, we were unable to have all of us on screen together, so Carla is on camera with me and Saca is chatting. I wanted them with me when I opened up Mom's ashes to add to the urns.

me, Jack and Carla onscreen. Saca & Paul via chat

I added this rocking chair to the box to be interred with her. Some of us also wrote letters and drew pictures and added them as well.

The final step was to add Mom's ashes to each necklace. Once the ashes were in, I set a clear crystal cabachon over the opening. This way you can see inside and see her ashes. I also like to think of it as a window for Mom to look out of.

So there it is. I wear mine every day.

photo by my sister Carla