Monday, June 13, 2011

Designer Drug Jewelry by Susan Braig

Saturday afternoon Leslie and I headed north from Pasadena to an event called Art on Millionaire's Row - an arts and crafts show at the Altadena Library. At one time Altadena, nestled into the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, was a gathering place for the wealthy, back when a million was real money.



We knew about the show because our friend Susan Braig, decked out in a white lab coat, was showing her jewelry designs. Susan makes decorative jewelry using discarded drugs. Here's her own description:
My jewelry was inspired after paying nearly $500 for my first chemo-therapy anti-nausea pills, which seemed more like precious gems!

My breast cancer is in remission (5 years), but my debts metastasized because my insurance policy did not cover many of my treatments. Now I have to peddle drugs to pay my medical bills.

The metaphor, "Health care in this country has become a luxury item" evolved into this collection of conceptual jewelry.


The picture is of Leslie and Susan.  The small print on the sign reads:
I have to sell drugs to pay my medical bills!  Health Care should not be a luxury item!
In fact, as Leslie was paying, Susan said "Now I can pay for my last office visit with my Internist."

Last March the L.A. Times ran an article about Susan.  Better yet, they made a video about her.  I recommend watching - you can see Susan at work while she tells her story and get a real sense of the joy she takes from this work.


Here are pictures of Susan's designs which Leslie purchased. The first earrings are Ducolax stool softener, the second are 10 mg. diazapam and the little green pill in the pendant is 2.5 mg. Coumadin.  (Click on pictures for enlargements.)




More from Susan's brochure:
Patient Information

Warnings: Keep out of reach of children!

Directions: All items are wearable and denatured (sealed, glued and no longer usable as drugs or medical supplies)

FRAGILE: Treat with care. Store in a dark cool place, preferably in pill bottle. Avoid prolong sun, heat and moisture.

Dosage: Do not ingest orally, only aesthetically and conceptually.

Side Effects
: May induce irony.
Susan may be reached at ssbraig "at" earthlink.net



Another Mixed Meters post about a creative friend's brush with cancer: Skying with Tom Broadhead

Drug Tags: . . . . . . . . .

1 comment:

Archivist/Cultural Liaison said...

you might remember Fred from being the manager at Gorky's. He has done extensive art based on drugs and illegal substances. He is moved on is now quite successful in NY. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Tomaselli