Necklace of Days

Friday July 23rd 2021


Karen Henderson on her wedding day with her mum Cathy.

Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

Midlothian artist Fiona Maher launched her Necklace of Days participative arts project on 1st January this year with the intention of telling the story of the year as it unfolds from a variety of experiences and perspectives in the form of small hand made objects.

Each month of objects are strung together in a large ‘necklace’ and focus on the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in this year.

The initial launch and call out went to Fiona’s friends but has now evolved to include those they are connected to.

Fiona explained,

“The ‘threads’ of connection are an important element and theme of the project. Participants are given a random date, selected by me, to experience then respond to in text/image/3D object etc.

“Objects have arrived at Necklace of Days headquarters by post, but I try and arrange a face to face meeting where possible, usually over coffee and cake. This has become an integral part of the project and the stories shared have had a big impact on me.

“The project is entirely self funded. I am a Midlothian based artist who’s practice spans printmaking and sculpture and everything in between. I’m print club producer at Edinburgh Printmakers and run my own classes workshops at various venues including The Steading in Rosewell.

“This project has become part of my daily routine and I’m currently seeking venues to exhibit the 12 necklaces, when they’re complete. So far it has been a fascinating journey.”

To mark the date of 24th July this year Carol Robinson provided Fiona with jewellery she made for her friend Karen Henderson and Karen’s mum Cathy.

Carol explained the significance of the date,

“My friendship with Karen began in 2017 when we were brought together through breast cancer treatment.

“Our friendship was to become like no other I had had, from the moment we met there was never a day we didn’t talk. We could talk about anything and everything, our deepest unspoken fears were able to be voiced and our great ideas were able to be achieved. We joined forces and fundraised for Cancer charities, bringing together so many people who were all to become mesmerised by Karen’s energy for life.

“Karen’s family welcomed me as one of their own, Karen and her mum Cathy both having the same drive and determination. Their love so unconditional, Karen loved her family and her family loved her.

“Karen and Cathy would chat every day, usually during the small hours of the night when they were both awake, worrying about each other but then telling each other not to worry.

“Karen told me she never feared death, she just wanted to live a longer life, she wanted to see her son Tristan grow up and she wanted to spend more time with her husband Alistair.

“Why the 24th July – that is the day last year that Karen and Alistair married. The wedding had been postponed twice, but Karen and Alistair knew time was limited, so despite COVID restrictions the wedding took place and turned into the most perfect magical day.

“Karen described it as the best day of her life she had everyone around her whom she loved and loved her.

“24th July 2021 – a year on and sadly Karen is not with us instead she is dancing with the stars, but I like to think she will be watching, smiling and remembering the best day of her life.

“I made the necklace for Karen and Cathy when Karen received the news her cancer was incurable, Karen never stopped having hope, even in the darkest times, her family meant the world to her and love – well in true Marti Pellow style

“I feel it in my fingers,
I feel it in my toes,
Love is all around me,
And so the feeling grows.”

The Necklace of Days can be viewed at The Steading in Rosewell.

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