I grew up in Northern Maine, but spent time living outside Washington D.C., Freehold, NJ, Casper, Wyoming and Old Saybrook, CT because my father was a wanderer. All of these places were mostly white, and when they weren’t – they still seemed segregated to me. My parents never taught me to hate other races, or even distrust or think of them as different. I first heard the n word shouted at a man I had known to be sweet and kind and hard working from a kid I went to school with, Eric Debay. I don’t mind naming him because that attitude continued and he became a bully for me, he and his friends regularly calling me a faggot. In that moment I had a decision to make. As he sat on his bike speaking to me in my parent’s car I asked him why he called the man that. He explained himself, but it was clear that he didn’t know why he hated. I was in love with Jody Watley at the time and I knew she was black and I knew that man across the street was cool, so this kid must just be an idiot. I rolled up the window and I’m fairly certain our friendship fizzled out that day. I heard words of hate regularly growing up in that small Northern Maine town – sometimes about Mexican migrant workers, often about gay people, sometimes about Asian people, but most often about black people. I had a hard time understanding it because we weren’t faced with many opportunities to interact with people of color in not just our town, but the whole county and even state.
Through high school I became increasingly obsessed with black pop culture of the time- I would only watch movies like Action Jackson, Poetic Justice, Boomerang and New Jack City. I would mostly listen to TLC, 2Pac, En Vogue, Mary J Blige, and even 2 Live Crew. When it came time to pick a school I went with one in Philadelphia because of Boyz II Men and someone I knew from there who had visited me in Maine. I was so excited to get there and have a more diverse group of friends and maybe be accepted for the first time. The reality though, was that Philadelphia was still a little segregated. I heard even more terrible, racist things out of the mouths of students and co-workers. Racial tension was high and I was young and naive and didn’t understand how to be an ally. When I left school I moved straight to San Francisco and fell into an apartment with a stranger, a beautiful woman named Laura. She taught me about life, loving myself, standing up for others, and yes – about racism and privilege. She was a young black woman. And she was fabulous. When my mom came to visit she exclaimed, “you didn’t tell me she was black, that’s cool!” My mom was proud that I didn’t feel the need to describe her in that way. I didn’t realize I hadn’t honestly. I can’t say I didn’t think about it. Even though I wasn’t taught to hate and no one sat me down to say, “hey, we are only humans, don’t divide with color”, I do. I do see color. I wish I didn’t. I wish something inside of me didn’t assume all black people are rad because I know that is a form of racism too. I know deep down that assholes know no color. I don’t know where it came from or why do it, but I do and I still work on it every day. I do know that without black people in our lives – our music, our dance, our poetry, our movies, our very culture in the United States would be absolutely bland mayonnaise.
Today is Juneteenth, commemorating June 19th, 1865 when the abolition of slavery was announced. I was not taught of this holiday and didn’t know a thing about it until I had black friends. Perhaps if I had learned about that in school, perhaps if other hateful little shites around me had heard the heart breaking tale of the burning of Greenwood, Oklahoma they would have grown to have more empathy, more compassion. Celebrating these African American Holidays and learning of the history could benefit all of us at that young age. I hope our education system evolves because starting young is the only way to bring about true understanding and change and an end to the systemic racism in our country.
Above, some people who I love, who might not have existed or been created had it not been for Juneteenth.
Today I thought it would be nice to feature my boyfriend’s shop and some of my favorite pieces that he has made. When I started making jewelry I tried to have a little story behind each piece, but Jeff from Fantastic Revision takes it to a whole new level. He often tells elaborate stories with each listing, adds in humor, and even makes connections most would never think of. All items in his shop are vintage or handmade with found, vintage, repurposed, and/or natural materials. Everything is one of a kind. All items are made by him personally; nothing is manufactured or mass produced.
The Okavango is “the river which never finds the sea.” Twice every year, the Okavango Delta floods, allowing plants to grow and wildlife to migrate to the otherwise desolate Kalahari Desert in northwestern Botswana. Over 400 species of birds alone appear during these floods and some of the most magnificent African wildlife can be spotted. In the largest inland delta in the world, it’s either feast or famine. Buy the Okavango Delta Here.
Savage Tapestry <– (click here to buy)
They may have appeared to be savages to those civilizations who encountered them, but their way of life was far more complicated than anyone could have imagined. Everything can benefit from a closer look.
This weathered oxidized brass horn-shaped pendant is imported from India and features three sides of purple howlite stone mosiac. It hangs from a gold tone repurposed 1″ split ring on a 30″ vintage brass box chain with spring ring closure.
Rosé Harvest <– (click here to buy)
White sheets, sparkling rosé, and lush red roses- the scene was set for the perfect harvest wedding.
These 2-3/4″ earrings are made from clusters of vintage faux pearls with tiny brass leaves, filigree bead caps, and vintage gold tone rose bloom bead accents. They hang from new 18k gold plated hooks.
Yekaterina <– (click here to buy)
This necklace was directly inspired by Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia. I recently saw a picture of it in a travel magazine and after many Google searches, I finally was able to identify it. Now a museum, it was once the summer home of many generations of the Russian royal family, From Catherine I to Catherine the Great. It is in itself a collection of architectural styles, most notably Rococo on the exterior but not without some golden Russian “onions” atop the roof. The azure blue walls, white columns, and gold leaf detailing are in perfect balance. It seems to both disappear into the winter snow and materialize from the summer sky. It looks quite ethereal at times. Having graduated with a degree in interior design, it would be a dream to see it inside and out.
La Catrina Azteca <– (click here to buy)
She knows the secrets of the dead. She holds your history in her dusty old bones. She knows where the ancestors buried all the silver. No, she’s not going to tell you where. She may be dead, but she’s not stupid.
These 6″ earrings feature turquoise dyed howlite carved skull beads crowned with silver plated rose beads with bead cap crowns and collars. They have turquoise howlite round bead crown accents and feature dripping vintage silver tone repurposed chains. They hang from new silver tone hooks.
And finally…..this one!!!!
The Maltese Madonna <– (click here to buy)
She’s the #1 diva of the Mediterranean. She’s a bit mysterious and not afraid to push the envelope. Just don’t get yourself involved with her- there’s more behind those eyes than you could ever imagine.
This bib necklace is created from multiple strands of repurposed vintage antiqued brass curb chain and a vintage Maltese Cross brooch hanging over them. It has a lobster closure and adjusts from 16″ to 19″ long.
So those are my favorites, but do yourself a favor and check out his shop full of fantastical creations, fun historical facts, and stories. He has a little sale running now for a limited time.
Avengers was not my first love in the Marvel Comics world. No, that honor belongs to the X-Men. I read my first issue when I was 8 or 9 years old and I instantly connected with the often feared and hated outcasts. I came to the Avengers much later while Steve Epting was pencilling. His work was so gorgeous and it was the quiet, one on one interactions he drew that really got to me.
In those days the Avengers comics were filled with love, romance, betrayal, and overcoming who you no longer want to be…all of those things really intruiged me as a teen who was just beginning to understand such concepts and emotions. Over the years I would abandon the Avengers and then come back and get caught up and wonder why I had forsaken them. That pattern continues today, truthfully.
The movies brought these characters to the world and these days you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know at least a small portion of their story. Black Panther is still my absolute favorite and I can’t see it being eclipsed by anything other than maybe Black Panther 2.
That is not to say that I don’t adore the other MCU films. Infinity War, for instance had the glorious Proxima Midnight! I just had to paint her on earrings last night so she could join the ranks of my other Avengers creations. (Above)
Bonus sexy pieces:
So there you have Zachary Pryor’s Avengers offerings. You can find them and many more geektastic things on my QuevaJewelry Etsy site. Just as a reminder, or new information for some of you- I DO take special requests!
Thanks for looking!