Janet Cadsawan’s work embraces both art and literature. Her Exhibit Hall booth delighted fans at 2011 Dragon*Con with designs inspired by the work of paranormal, urban fantasy authors. After 9-11 left her without work, Janet decided to write the novel she always wanted to write. Her choice of protagonist, a jewelry designer, made her realize that her mother’s love of jewelry had left its mark on her. Janet began her new career by first working for a local jewelry store to learn the basics.
But Janet’s path to jewelry design as a career led her to one of her favorite authors, Charlaine Harris. In 2008, she asked to produce Eric Northman’s Viking belt described in Dead to the World. After receiving permission from Harris, she made the belt and donated the proceeds to Harris’s favorite charity. Later, working with the costume designer for the True Blood series, Janet also designed Eric’s Viking buckle and ring as well as the Thor’s hammer that Godric, Eric’s maker, wore in the season two Viking scene.
“Charlaine Harris really made me; she’s my Oprah,” Janet said.
Harris recommended Janet to other authors. Now, the New York-based jewelry designer exclusively makes book-inspired pieces, licenses the products, and sells them to fans.
“This is really great because all of the people in the paranormal, urban fantasy area read the same books. I know all the authors and they know me, so it’s a really great kind of niche,” Janet continued as she pointed out different work at her booth and the books that excited their creation.
In addition to True Blood, series represented by the jewelry include Morganville Vampires (Rachel Caine), Vampire Academy (Richelle Mead), Black Dagger Brotherhood (J. R. Ward), and Rocks & Bones(from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost).
I personally chose a “gubbe” made of waxed brass bearing twin, entwined seahorses accompanied by a faceted smoky quartz. The gubbe, meaning “bent’ or “old man” from the frequent representations on the relics, is a pre-Viking medallion. Originally cast in gold or other metals, the gubbes were often found with small gems or other stones in early Norse ruins. Suggested by a contest winner as a tribute to Harris’s character Eric, Janet makes reproductions of traditional animal gubbes such as stags and owls.
Also from the Sookie Stackhouse series, and especially for fans of Vampire Bill, Janet created topaz earrings. The baubles are identical in appearance to the pair Bill Compton gave to his “Sue-kee” while thay were still a couple.
Mead’s Vampire Academy finds expression in Janet’s talismans against the evil eye. Other vamp jewelry includes crossed bones or hearts with cross-bone cut-outs honoring Frost’s sexy UK vamp and, as protection from the less friendly variety of night stalkers, small silver stakes in the form of pendants and earrings. Janet demonstrated how the stakes, although too small for a lethal silver dose, might slow a vampire down long enough to escape harm.
Janet’s Internet site explains that her “philosophy is that jewelry is magic adorned.” After viewing her book-inspired fine jewelry, talismans, and “supernatural baubles,” I have to agree.
Janet planned a post-Dragon*Con sale of items that traveled home with her after the convention. Read more about Janet and view her collections at her website.