Original and Contemporary Fine Art Jewelry Fabricated by the Designer
One of the most revered New Orleanians struts and fusses about an Uptown neighborhood, pecking at the reflections he sees staring back at him from freshly washed cars. Some neighbors call him Mr. Pete, although a few cheeky insiders insist on referring to him as Mr. P. Despite his hell-on-wheels tendency, at least as far as automobiles are concerned, Mr. Pete is beloved to the point that the New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance declaring his neighborhood a protected wildlife sanctuary. Mr. Pete, you see, is a decidedly male peacock, who roams freely and is given a wide berth by neighborhood cats and dogs.
I love the iridescent blue and green colors of New Orleans’ feral peacocks as much as I enjoy the regal beauty of the birds themselves. In recent years, those colors have become an integral part of the enamels I handcraft to embellish the silver and gold jewelry created in my Historic Algiers Point studio. And at the risk of sounding cocky, when I see these pieces adorning some of the most beautiful women of this magnificent city, it truly does make me feel as proud as you-know-who.
My studio lies directly across the river from the New Orleans French Quarter in charming Algiers Point. Our historic neighborhood, established in 1719, is only two years younger than New Orleans itself. Though only a stone’s throw away, you’d think us a world apart. Ours is a quiet little village and we like it that way. We’re surrounded on two sides by spectacular views of the city, and the most commonly heard sounds here are church bells, the calliope of the paddle-wheeled steamship Natchez, and the friendly greetings of people passing by.
The building that houses my Lil McKH jewelry studio and workshop was previously a corner grocery dating back to the 1880s. It changed hands several times, and is even rumored to have doubled as a bookie joint many, many years ago. The store was long-closed when I came across it, but it’s not any more. Today, it’s a place in which beautiful work is created. Strewn across my benches and tables are pieces of gold and silver, colorful enamels, pearls and precious stones … fanned out, arranged and ultimately combined into works of art that would make the finest peacock proud.