Peggy Johnson was best known for her “Housewearables” jewelry which she lovingly fabricated first in Philadelphia, then from her home and studio in Portland, Maine. Since the early 1980s, we’ve carried Peggy’s Utensil necklace at Freehand, along with her pins: In Vino Veritas, Olive You, Toaster, Lettuce Love, Honeymoon Salad and Electric Mixer, among a myriad of others. They are physical manifestations of Peggy’s whimsical thought processes. Each piece was hand constructed, never cast and an always charming take on the quotidian life of the home. Her insects were made with love and affection for the smallest creatures. Her birds perch happily on a lapel, amazing us with their beautiful construction and lifelike attitudes.

Peggy sold her work through the American Craft Council Shows. Her booth always featured a doll house with her Housewearables jewelry properly displayed. Wonderful! Peggy’s empathy was somehow soldered into her perfectly fabricated pins, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Meant to amuse and function as adornment, her pieces have kept their beauty and their meaning over time. I enjoy studying the backs of her pieces, especially the bird series that took inspiration from the birds in her Portland neighborhood. Something gentle and refined and personal is captured in each piece.

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