Nancy Levine, Jewelry Genius

I have mentioned my sister Nancy in my blog posts. She’s the jewelry genius sister whose work has enhanced my own work in some of the photos I have used to illustrate my garments. She has been making jewelry for years, and since she can’t figure out how to price her work in order to sell it online, my other sisters and I have been the lucky beneficiaries of her meticulous artistry, which, typical of her self-deprecation, she calls OCD. It’s her birthday today, as I hit the publish button on this post, and my sisters and I have put together this gallery of the gorgeous things she has given us over the years, to celebrate the beauty she has shared with us and our good fortune to have her as our sister.

Years ago, making beads from polymer clay was an obsession for me, and I made a necklace for Nancy thinking it might be something she would enjoy. A few years later I got the beads back, transformed into something something much better than what I had sent her, using my beads in an inspired combination with beaded beads of her own creation that have a delicate Florentine look. We all learned the same way that if we tried to give Nancy a gift of pretty beads, it was going to be a self-serving gift, because she was going to make a beautiful necklace from them that would come back to us on our birthday. This is one of my favorites.

Our sister Judy has a similar necklace and she sent me a photo with a detail of the beaded beads that is clearer than I could photograph. There’s also a detail of a polymer clay bead that I made all those years ago, which never pleased me all that much until Nancy put it in the context that makes it look good.

I have a couple of series of necklaces in similar colors. The aqua/red series:

These colors are inspiring me. I really have to use aqua, red, and white together more.

The purple series:

Nancy had her own polymer clay phase. She was a lot better at it than I was.

Bling! Nancy does bling.

Sometimes Nancy’s designing tracks with mine, although our media are different and we work independently of each other.

Also this.

Assembly of crocheted patchwork top completed

I don’t really know how to categorize these pieces, but they look pretty together.

Gold beaded beads with purple accents:

Nancy made this work of art for my daughter’s wedding outfit. My efforts to describe it are hampered by the fact that I don’t know the terminology for what Nancy did. I suppose it would help if I actually knew what Nancy did. She’s been getting into these astonishing breastplate artwork installation pieces. The technical term is bib, not breastplate.

Beautiful necklace, beautiful bride, beautiful couple

Here’s another example of Nancy’s bib necklace pieces, from our sister Judy’s collection.

This very cool multimedia piece from Judy’s collection shows Nancy’s resourceful repurposing of non-beading objects. I think the focal point is a paintbrush head.

Also from Judy’s collection, an example of Nancy’s work in polymer clay.

Please notice the closures of every single one of these works. Nancy gives as much attention to the function and design integrity of the parts that are on the back of the neck and hidden under hair as she does to the focal points.

Fortunately for Judy, my admiration of this piece does not tempt me to steal it from her, just because I am a good person.

Here are two necklaces in similar soft colors, from Judy’s collection. I really love Nancy’s use of asymmetry in the necklace on the left.

Two sisters down, two to go. The next pictures are from Mandy’s collection. Forgive my failure to comment. These pieces can speak for themselves, I think.

Finally, the pictures of Sanna’s collection, styled as only Sanna can style. Produce isn’t just for dinner anymore. She helped me out with some of the captions too.

Sanna’s caption: Miscegenation among my produce
Cantaloupe with attitude
Didn’t we meet at my mother’s condo in Delray Beach?
Jeff Goldblum
Groucho Marx
Bird of paradise
Guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry
Not that kind of Corona

So happy birthday, Nancy! Your art brings joy to everyone who sees the products of your creativity, workmanship, use of color, and generally your aesthetic vision. That impulse to learn complicated techniques isn’t OCD, it’s a gift, and your sisters are honored that you share it with us. Have many, many more birthdays!

20 thoughts on “Nancy Levine, Jewelry Genius

  1. If creative genius is the ability to make something out of nothing, Nancy’s got it. In spades. (So have you, Abby.) Thank the heavens for creative geniuses!


  2. Kudos, Nancy and Abby, and a shout-out to Sanna, who has a design genius of her own. As one of the beneficiaries of my sister Nancy’s brilliance and generosity over the years, I’ll attest to her work’s arresting power. I can remain unseen in other jewelry, but her pieces are always what people notice, praise, and want for themselves. I think there will be a lot of discerning readers of Abby’s tribute here who will want to be Nancy’s sisters–and who would appreciate the rhymes between your sense of color and design and Nancy’s even if you hadn’t underscored them. Happy birthday, dear Nancy, and thanks, Abby, for sharing her work with your own loving circle.


  3. I can’t believe it takes a pandemic for me to learn how much creativity my cousins have. I’m blown away by all of you. Thank you for sharing these amazing works of art. I’ll have to show you some of my stained glass work. That’s my medium.


  4. Another aspect of Nancy’s art is her resourcefulness and willingness to experiment with materials. If I remember correctly, the heart-shaped pendant on the necklace with the light green beads is made of pieces of paper that Nancy rolled up very tight, glued together, and lacquered. Those light green beads themselves started out looking quite different; I think Nancy dipped them in acid, which etched off their shiny finish and changed their color.


  5. Happy Birthday, Nancy! Her work is absolutely STUNNING!! It is very reminiscent of the jewelry I saw while honeymooning in Italy. My sister also creates jewelry but I found a piece for her that was so unusual and unlike anything she made.
    I could wear each and every one of her creations! It is very difficult to price our own work. My sister found people were very willing to pay decent money (I mean decent money!) for a one of a kind creation. She even had a dignitary in Hong Kong purchase a piece for his wife. Trufax. Let us know if she ever decides to take the plunge. I would love to share her talent.


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