January Guest Artist Pam Jones

When I married an artist I wondered what kind of art I would make if I had the opportunity. I had always been attracted to religious, ethnic and folkloric imagery, roadside memorials, home altars and shrines.

When I moved from Missouri to Florida in 2012, the urge to express myself kicked in. I asked my husband to create a little workspace for me in our garage. I began making assemblages that reminded me of Catholic reliquaries, which contain a piece of a saint’s bone, for example. They’re composed around a shell that looks like a bone, so they’re called Shelliquaries. To me, these little shrines look like something a monk might have taken along on his journeys. They inspire people to come up with their own stories. Plus everyone likes to open things up and see what’s inside. My Shelliquary “Two Relics” recently won 1st Prize at the COLOR show at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda.

For the past few months, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been making Buddhaquaries. These portable shrines are an extension of Shelliquaries but with an Asian theme, meant to evoke feelings of peace, joy and hopefulness.

What all of my work has in common is that it gives old, discarded stuff and everyday odds and ends new or unexpected life. I am constantly picking up rusted bottle caps in parking lots. My little workspace now takes up one-quarter of the garage.

My work also can be seen at the Artful Giraffe Gallery in Sarasota and Florida CraftArt Gallery in St. Petersburg. It is held in private collections in Florida, Washington, D.C., New York City, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri and Seattle, Washington.