24 January 2016

In loving memory of Nancy Abelmann

It is with great sadness we share that an incredible woman, mother, noted scholar, cultural anthropologist, and friend, Nancy Abelmann, passed away from her battle with cancer earlier this month.  She was one of the most compassionate individuals I have ever come across, and was kind enough to stay in touch with me even after I went to another institution for graduate studies and entered the financial private sector (rather than remain in academia).  

A mentee of hers from decades past (who happened to be my T.A. when I was an undergrad at the University of Illinois) asked me to design and create a piece she could wear when lecturing students, to remind her, and at the same time pay tribute to, Nancy's tremendous strength and brilliance.   

She offered me a pair of wolf teeth as a possible center to the design.  She bought them while attending an Asian American conference with Nancy.  The most primal jewelry is made from bones and claws, and this was one of the most unusual materials to cross my jewelry bench.  These wolf teeth were originally strung on simple wires.  I intertwined branches (that were reminiscent of Nancy's wavy hair!) out off 18K blackened gold and diamonds, and attempted to  transform them into totemic earrings.

Contributions in Nancy's memory may kindly be directed to:

University of Illinois Foundation
Nancy Abelmann Scholarship Fund
1305 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801.