Guest Blog Post from my Silversmith Studio

KIDNEYS AND TRANSPLANT GIFTS

“In this post I want to highlight Myra Schwartz from Chicago and her business offering kidney and other organ transplant gifts. I met Myra 5 years ago online on eBay as she was perusing my listings for anything resembling kidneys. While we talked I learned that Myra was a kidney donor recipient. She explained to me that this gift of life often develops into a strong bond of friendship between donees and their donors. Myra wanted to express her gratitude to her donor with a gift but she couldn’t find something special. And from that realization a business was born.

Soon we were talking about her ideas for custom designs and of course we were happy to work with her to bring them to fruition. Over the years we have collaborated on many of her designs. Below is an example of a piece based on her sketches that I am particularly proud of as it applies traditional Balinese scrollwork to a beautiful kidney inspired design.  The collage below shows elements of the design process from various concepts to a finished piece.

Myra just opened her new online store. I invite you to visit her website TransplantGifts.com. There you can read her story and view and shop her creative and unique designs. You can also follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TransplantGifts”

Posted by Mark at Fifirose.com on October 15, 2017

scrollwork-kidney-blog-post

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April 21, 2018-Living Donors Attempt a World Record in Chicago! Come Join in!

December 1, 2017

An attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the most living organ donors in one photo will take place in Chicago on April 21, 2018. I thought I’d pass this along because it sounds like a lot of fun! The organizers are looking for more donors to join in. The record stands at 250 living donors, so pass it on to anyone who might like to join us in Chicago, beat a world record and enjoy springtime in our beautiful city.  Everyone will meet at the famed Millennium Park at the Iconic “Cloudgate” Sculpture by Anish Kapoor. It must be the largest bean shape in the world, our very own giant mirrored kidney here in Chicago.

I’ll be there and my living donor is planning to make the trip from Georgia. The event coordinators are looking into permits for vendors and if they’re granted, I’ll bring my kidney jewelry there. Stop by my table, if I have one, and say hi!

If you haven’t been to Chicago, you’re in for a treat. A gorgeous lakefront, Millennium Park, amazing architecture and artwork, world class museums, fabulous food, (especially pizza), live music of every kind. Late April weather is usually delightful and if you live someplace without seasons, you’ll love our April spring.

The Facebook link to sign up for this event, or read more about it is https://www.facebook.com/events/1520005218056756/

Here are a few images of the Bean. Check online for many stunning photos in every imaginable light.The top photo does not have a photo credit. The bottom one is signed EvaBlue. 

 

Happy Thanks Giving to you all!

Wishing you and your family a a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season.
I am grateful for your business and wish you all the best of health

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Kidney Transplant Gift Guide #4--Gifts $50 and Under

November 22, 2017

Thinking of gifts for kidney recipients, donors, family, friends or special medical staff? With prices ranging from $12-$200, there is a kidney themed gift to fit every budget at transplantGifts.com.

Here is a sampling of item images from the website that are all $50 and under. 

 

 

 

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Kidney Transplant Gift Guide #3--Gifts for Guys

November 21, 2017

I get many requests for appropriate kidney related gifts for men, be they recipient, donor, supporter or medical professional. I’ve put together a collection of these gifts for you to see. See the page titled “Gifts for Guys” in the drop down on Kidney & Organ Transplant jewelry. My website is www.transplantgifts.com in case you aren’t already there at this moment.

Here are a few choices…

kidney-gifts-for-guys-men

 

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Kidney Transplant Gift Guide #2-Tree of Life Designs

Tree of Life jewelry makes a wonderful gift to celebrate and symbolize a kidney (or liver!) transplant with a known or altruistic living donor. However, should you one day meet the family who made a decision to donate organs of their loved one, Tree of Life jewelry is a touching and poignant connection between you and their family member who was an organ donor after death.

These designs tell life affirming stories about who is important in our life. Family does not mean just blood relatives, but also friends and the Heroes we take forever into our hearts. The pendants below are also great conversation starters about the importance of organ donation.

Tree Designs are metaphors for limbs that reach both upwards and around us, providing love, an umbrella of protection, plus the opportunity to grown into something healthy and beautiful. Just as a tree’s root structure brings nutrients up throughout its branches, the branches of significant people in our lives form a network of support and love which bring continuity into our lives. Tree pendants represent a powerful bond often made between organ donor and recipient

Below are a few of the many designs I offer in my Tree of Life Transplant Jewelry. I have styles with or without a kidney drop.  Pendants pictured below are sterling silver or gold plated sterling called Vermeil.

See the entire collection at transplantgifts.com. There is a link on this page, lower right column. 

More gift guide ideas coming soon….

 

tree-of-life-transplant-gifts 

 

 

Kidney Transplant Gift Guide #1

Kidney Transplant Gratitude Gift Guide #1      

How my best idea came about…     

 

November 17, 2015

 

Great ideas come from a need with a creative solution that doesn’t yet exist in the world. Artistic creativity can come from anywhere, even straight out of a blue sky. When that light wakes my brain, it’s time to mine for ideas and solutions to solve a need. 

It began with multiple requests for a kidney shaped pendant that separates into two sections, one for a living donor and the other for the recipient. I tried that concept, drew scores of sketches and even cut out various configurations in paper, taped them around a chain and took photos to see what they would look like when worn. That idea turned out to be weird and abstract, which could have been “interesting,” but the pieces did not have a sense of importance. I wanted the halves to convey a deep message of thanks in order to share a gift of gratitude with a real Hero.

Last fall, I noticed some rare Monarch butterflies had come to my yard to feast on the wild Asters. I went out to photograph them, and all the while thought about these delicate creatures and the transformation they went through to get to my yard on their way south to winter in Mexico. They were all survivors, just like kidney patients about to go through the miraculous transformation that comes with a transplant. When I saw the photos enlarged on my computer, I immediately had the idea to create two pendants, one with a kidney “removed,” for the donor and the other with a kidney “added on,” for the recipient. As it turns out, butterfly wings look similar to kidneys with some artistic license. The idea was simple and perfect for what I wanted to express. 

I began a series of sketches and measurements to hand over to the metals studio that produces my sterling silver jewelry designs. Their workmanship is beautiful and the studio owner understands my mission and its needs, enabling me to create pieces that I could not otherwise produce in my own jewelry studio. I used to love working with metals, but there are too many chemical hazards for a transplanted kidney. It was a long 5 month project with many emails and phone calls, but the end result was exactly what I envisioned and I was thrilled with the pendants and what they symbolized for kidney recipients and living donors.

From the first week the set was available, it resonated with buyers and I knew I had a winning design that brought meaning and gratitude to the transplant experience. I added the Golden Kidney set earlier this year, with a small gold plated kidney within the larger “wing” body. See them both close up on the Special Gifts page at Transplantgifts.com or Kidneyjewelry.com.

I’ll be back soon with more ideas!

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Outside My Window

…are The Colors of Fall.

        

 

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A Public Note of Thanks to My Special Hero

 

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is giving your gift away”  -David Viscott

October 6, 2017

The story of my 2002 kidney transplant is really more about my cousin and living donor, Fran, than me. She is the Hero of my story. With the purest heart I could ever imagine, she offered me a life altering gift of one of her kidneys. Her extraordinary donation was a profoundly selfless sacrifice that did not just change my health, but changed my spirit, as well as my dreams for a future. After a decade of hemodialysis, Fran gave my life back to me and ignited those dreams. At the time, I didn’t realize her gift was going to connect my medical life with my creative life. Fran’s kidney provided me with a new path and a mission, which was to use my own gifts in life to help honor and celebrate the people who make life saving transplants possible. 

Her initial offer of a kidney left me in awe and I took a full year to think about it, giving her the opportunity to change her mind or back out gracefully. Her determination never wavered. She is the one who gave me the strength and courage to accept a gift that, to me, was bigger than the universe. Receiving a kidney transplant is a life experience full of wonder and grace and there is little in life that can compare to it. How can anyone thank another for such an overwhelming gift?

I think of what Fran did for me every single day. I take every opportunity to let her know what a treasure she is in my life.  She inspires me with her generosity, goodness and love. Fran discovered the true meaning of life early on and now shares her special gifts with both people and many animals in need. Inspired by Fran, I now create jewelry that expresses my gratitude for her Gift of Life and share that feeling with others around the world who are searching for ways to express their own gratitude. Fran’s gift of a kidney moved me towards the work I was meant to be doing, which in turn, helped me find a special purpose in my life. It was a gift of many layers. 

So thank you, dear Fran. You are my angel and my Hero. You are also the inspiration for countless Gifts of Gratitude that travel to kidney recipients and donors around the globe. That gratitude is growing roots everywhere it goes. I hope the gifts I create bring as much meaning to those who receive them as your gift has meant to my life. Your kidney is a big part of me, but the place you forever hold in my heart is even bigger!

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Kidney Muse

muse: a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist; inspiration, creative influence

October 4, 2017

Welcome to my website and my first blogging effort! This long awaited website project has been bubbling up after 5 years of procrastination, so I’m thrilled that it’s finally here.

So who am I and why am I selling kidney shaped items? Here is the short story of my business…

I’m Myra Schwartz, a longtime US kidney patient, current transplant recipient and full time jewelry designer since 1991. In 2002, before receiving my transplant from a Heroic cousin-in-law, I began searching for a special gift of gratitude to present to her. I knew that it had to be meaningful and symbolic of our journey together….but what is an appropriate gift for someone who gives you the Gift of Life?

I wanted something both tangible and symbolic to remind my donor of her noble sacrifice and how much it was appreciated. Unable to locate anything worthy of this extraordinary gift, I took a class in lost wax casting and made her a necklace with a one-of-a-kind sterling kidney pendant. I then wondered if other recipients were also looking for ways to show their appreciation to their living donors, doctors, family members and supporters. Beginning a small website using a collection of kidney shaped beads to test the waters, it quickly became apparent that recipients around the world were also searching for meaningful gifts to present to the special Heroes in their lives.

I seem to have a radar for kidney shaped beads and objects. I searched for and found kidney beads at bead and gem shows, but I also found other artists to make kidney shaped beads for me out of glass, metals, wood and a variety of other materials.  I’ve even had gemstone kidney beads overseas,made to my exact specifications.

One of the tradeoffs of having my transplant was that working with chemicals, acids and fumes in a silversmith studio was not safe for my priceless kidney, so the choice to give up that work was not difficult. I still love designing however,  so even though I can no longer safely work in a metals shop, I can still sketch the details of how I want a new piece to look with strong meaning behind it. After all these years, I still love working with the beautifully organic form of a kidney. Each design is infused with the feelings I had for my own donor’s gift of life and our transplant experience.

I serendipitously found an excellent studio in Bali that transforms my sketches and measurements into finished products. We’ve worked together for over 5 years and they’ve meticulously produced many of my sterling kidney designs as well as other jewelry pieces for my (non kidney) art jewelry line.

I hope to continue bringing new designs to fruition that will help tell YOUR story as well as my own. My kidney donor is my daily inspiration!

Here I am below with my Hero/Donor/Cousin/Lifesaver Fran, over the last 15 years. We live 700 miles apart, but bonded as young women when my first cousin Richard brought her to Chicago to introduce family to the woman he was going to marry. I never expected such a miracle from this wonderfully generous and beautiful muse who first entered my life over 40 years ago. 

 

This was taken just before Fran’s donor surgery began in July, 2002. She is the happy, calm one on the left. I’m the emotional one on the right.

Here we are celebrating our 10th kidney anniversary in 2012.

2014

2016

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