Want something really splashy for your New Year’s Eve party? Try an octopus necklace. (Ho ho ho.) No, really – all puns aside, if you go looking at the wryly funny necklaces and brooches in “Unusual Adornment” as just wall-art you’re missing half the fun. The show, loosely organized by Lynn Di Nino and other Tacoma friends at Old Town’s Sandpiper Gallery, is of wearable art, and art that deserves plenty of wearing.
Take Di Morgan-Graves’ paper-mache-sculpted necklace pendants. Morgan-Graves is the diva of the 6th Avenue Dia de los Muertos procession, with gorgeous skeletons like the fisherman, the mermaid and Elvis under her belt, so it’s really nice to see this skill at work on exquisitely small items. Mind you, they’re still big around your neck. A curled magenta octopus, a laughing, mock-gold-leaf Bacchus face, a set of tragic Greek theatre masks and a tree stump brooch are all shapes that Morgan-Graves has invented witty legends for, tactile in their curves.
Elayne Vogel and Candyce Anderson hang found objects on their necklaces, but they couldn’t be more different. Vogel’s is dubbed the “Diva Dollar Tree collection,” and includes a chandelier of inverted fake trophies, an enigmatic row of wooden clothes pegs with blood-red inserts presided over by tiny wooden chickens, and assemblages of everything from toy car wheels to padlocks. The only hitch is her silver, leather or pearl chains are too delicate for their burdens.
Anderson, meanwhile, strings up computer circuit boards like silver plate, lacing them onto crocheted wire. Best of all is “Zomo’s Delight,” threading puff-balls of tangled aluminum wire like steely clouds.
Di Nino’s necklaces show the same irreverant humor as her larger concrete sculptures. Plaster-cast toes painted pink, gold or lurid green dangle surreally on chains or earrings like a statement from a trend-setting cannibal. The toes peeking demurely out of leather pockets are really rather sweet.
Finally, Kevan Atteberry breaks the mold (ha!) with brooches of china shards mounted with his whimsical cartoon drawings, utterly suited to their ad hoc shapes and mocking the seriousness of it all.
“Unusual Adornments” is open noon-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday through December at Sandpiper Gallery, 2221 N. 30th St., Tacoma. 253-627-6667