Saturday, July 14, 2012


In Southeastern MA, there is a festival in the "Whaling City" that happens every year, and that is the Greater New Bedford Summerfest. My favorite part of the festival is meandering through the cobblestone streets perusing the items that the participating artisans have out on display.  With that said, if I don't want to leave the festival having spent an arm and a leg, I need to be selective of which items I choose to buy.  I try to get some, "Christmas" shopping done, but in the end, it turns into a "one for you, one for me" kind of excursion.  In any case, it was on our search for the kettlecorn popper, that I happened upon an artist whose jewelry spoke to me.  Not only, did the jewelry speak to me, but, the designer's mother did, too.  In fact, it was during the conversation with her mother, a retired art teacher, that we bonded over like-minded philosophies in art education.  And, if anyone has every really gotten me up on my soapbox; my students would know, I am very passionate in my beliefs regarding the importance of art education. 

After I inquired about taking my classes on a field trip to the artist's studio, the artist's proud mother introduced us.  Nicole Monforti, the (daughter and) designer, recycles old letterpress printing materials into jewelry.  Nicole has a studio in New Bedford, MA along with a shop on Etsy called, Headcase Press.  Naturally, Headcase Press is also on Facebook.  Needless to say, I did purchase a bracelet similar to the one pictured above.  It is an understatement to say that, "I love it".  I admire the inovative use of a material that isn't normally seen embedded in jewelry.  Interestingly, though, these are just the letterpress materials that can't be used on the press.  Nicole is also using other letterpress items to print greetings cards, invitations and other print materials.  Admittedly, I felt a little guilty spending money on myself, espcially on jewelry.  I always feel the need to rationalize such purchases.  But, in the end sometimes such a purchase has a way of paying it money supports the entrepreneurial efforts of this one artist, which in turn is important for the youth that I teach to see; it is possible to make a living doing what you love, especially when doing what you love inspires others; as Nicole's pieces did for me.

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