The Hippo


Jan 25, 2020








Earrings by Annette Blazon. Courtesy photo.

Designs by Annette

Check out her work at, and on Facebook. You can also buy her work at the Currier Museum of Art gift shop (150 Ash St., Manchester).

High demand
Manchester artist creates jewelry from literature

By Kelly Sennott

Working with her hands, particularly within Manchester’s mill buildings, is in jewelry artist Annette Blazon’s blood.

Blazon is best-known for her asymmetrical and book-geek designs showcasing titles like The Catcher in the Rye, Jane Eyre and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which she creates in her top-floor mill art studio, decorated with jewelry, crafts, tools and, in one corner, an old turquoise typewriter.
But before her, her father, uncles and grandfather were New Hampshire woodworkers, and her mother’s relatives had moved to the Queen City to become mill workers. So it made sense that, despite her inefficiency with a paintbrush, the self-taught artist thrives in making whimsical earrings and necklaces by hand.
“It’s something in you, to be able to work with your hands and have that eye,” she said during an interview at the studio last Tuesday afternoon. “I think [my roots] have an influence in what I’m doing. … I almost feel like it was meant to be.”
The holidays approaching meant she was on high drive trying to complete orders in time for Christmas, which had snowballed ever since Jane Austen publishers posted her earrings on their Facebook page in 2012. Her style is eclectic and mismatched, but her literary ear decor sports a standard design. On one ear hangs a typewriter key, followed by plastic book cover image on one side, author headshot on the other. On the other ear dangles another typewriter key and typewriter image, with a book quote scrawled across: “People never notice anything,” and “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” and “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page.”
Most recent days have been spent producing or packaging; she has so many orders she can barely keep up.
“I’m waiting for next week when things slow down. It’s crazy,” said Blazon, wearing a pair of her own earrings — orange and dangling to her collarbone, with a gold slipper on one side, an image of Queen Anne of England on the other.
Blazon began the trade 30 years ago while living near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her location in the Southwest was due to her husband’s job, and she felt inspired by its craft culture. She started making bright, thread-woven earrings with colorful dangling beads, but her intention wasn’t to make a living of it.
“It was a hobby. But people kept commenting on them all the time,” Blazon said. “I’d run into Native American people that were like, you need to sell those.”
When she finally did start selling, she sold everything. Soon she was weaving dreamcatcher earrings with gold lamé thread — “thousands and thousands of these,” she said — and when the couple moved to Florida, she found an equally large audience of tourists and locals.
But in 2007, her art had to take a break when her husband died and, a year later, her doctor diagnosed her with lupus. Blazon was in extreme pain all the time, unable to move. 
“I ended up in the emergency room, half dead in the hospital,” Blazon said. “They had to do chemotherapy on me, and I was really down. I couldn’t work for about a year after everything happened.”
She moved back to New Hampshire, where she grew up and where she had family, and eventually found jewelry-making again. But something had to change. Her hands couldn’t move and weave the same way they used to.
So she turned to her materials for inspiration and found laser-cut wooden typewriter keys purchased from Etsy. Having sold work out of what was Log Cabin Antiques in Hooksett, she knew vintage typewriters were hot and created earrings inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird and other titles. The Huffington Post featured her work in 2010.
Today, the artist gets requests from authors themselves, asking her to create earrings from their own covers and quotes, and from regulars who want everything under the sun — earrings promoting Bernie Sanders, nonprofit organizations, their pets (complete with photos), hiking, Seattle and breakfast foods. A lot of designs are inspired by her own Native American roots.
Despite the long hours, she wouldn’t change a thing.
“It’s very satisfying,” she said. “More than anything I’ve ever done in my life, [crafting] has always made me [happy]. It puts me in a certain spot, and it just makes me feel good.” 

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