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prairie danglers

Handmade (by me) two-sided glass slide pendant, beaded and be-ribboned, containing collages made from Little House book illustrations and text.


My dining-room table is under there somewhere…

Hey, guys, it’s nansie here. Once upon a time, way before I was a Laura Ingalls Wilder researcher, I was an artist. I majored in art in college and restoration architecture in grad school, and I was always creating. Always making messes and having fun. Not that there’s not a good bit of making messes and having fun involved in doing Little House research, but scooping up crumbles of Missouri Ruralist pages and putting them inside a glass ball for the Christmas tree isn’t quite the creative process I’ve been missing lately.

I’ve been talking about making collaged glass slide pendants for years. I’d done some stained glass work back in the seventies, and I still had all the equipment and accoutrements. I had last year’s gift of a garbage bag full of old Little House paperbacks. My husband built me a screened-in potting shed with a pebble, beach glass, and marble floor that almost immediately was taken over as my place to solder, then he built me another potting shed that I wouldn’t mind getting dirty. I had crafty friends who let me raid their stashes for glass and beads and pick their brains for inspiration, and friends who shared their expertise. Seriously; a six page hand-written letter from an artist friend about wire gauge and bead wrapping, complete with the cutest little collage-covered matchbox containing examples of techniques described? How could I not want to get back into all this?!

So, after my winter month in De Smet, between gardening and research and not blogging (sorry!), I littered up the dining room, got creative, and then fired up the soldering iron (okay; I plugged it in). Elder care, house-guests, two lovely trips to the beach, a research project, and a virus that had me in bed all one week got in the way, but a fun box full of prairie danglers was the result.

What’s a prairie dangler? It’s a two-sided glass slide pendant, beaded and be-ribboned, constructed from Little House book illustrations and text or copies of period advertisements from businesses mentioned in the books and historical photographs. Yes, I cut up book pages. It’s whimsey. It’s whatever. Wear one as a pendant around your neck (non-lead, jewelry grade solder used, but these are not waterproof, so keep that in mind). Hang them on your Christmas tree. Dangle one from a lamp switch, or a drawer pull, or a picture frame.

I always have scads of them; lately, I’ve been donating them to the Little House on the Prairie Museum to sell, so look for them there. You’ll be supporting a great cause! If you see me at a Little House site, I’m sure to have a basket of them with me, so let me know if you’re interested in buying one (or ten!), or send me an email if you’re interested and we can communicate some more. I accept paypal!


prairie danglers