What is a Reliquary?
Traditionally, a reliquary (from the latin ‘reliquiae’ meaning ‘remains’) was a form made out of metal and/or glass to house a relic. A relic is something of historic or sentimental value that survives from an earlier time. It can also be a part of a deceased person’s (or animal’s) body that is kept as an object of reverence.
As an artist/metalsmith I became interested in reliquaries when my 23 year old cat, Miss Moppet, died the first year I was in graduate school. When I received her ashes it was clear how utterly significant they were as a way of preserving my vital connection with her. I wanted something that would remind me of what it felt like to be loved by her and what she had taught me; an object that connected us.
Since that time, I have made hundreds of reliquaries over the past 25 years. People who choose to have a reliquary made describe to me how important a part of their grief journey and healing it is. To memorialize their loved one; to have a physical object to touch and see creates connection and brings comfort.