TURNING TRAGEDY INTO WEARABLE ART
"Imagine going through a series of heartbreaking events… A difficult pregnancy, giving birth to twins who were only two and four pounds, losing one of those babies to SIDS and then years later, having the surviving twin diagnosed with stage-three cancer. What would you do? How would you cope? Could you take your grief and turn it into something positive? Maja Arnold did and this is her story.
On a quiet night in October 2007, Maja heard a panicked cry from her husband that she will never forget. She stumbled into the hall to find her husband crying and holding their newborn, Isabella. She frantically attempted CPR while her husband called 911. In a matter of minutes, their lives had become a bad dream that they couldn’t wake up from. Isabella’s death was believed to have been caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Almost exactly two years after Isabella had passed away, they were blessed with another daughter, Ella. Life finally seemed to feel more settled when one day in 2010, she noticed a bump on Lukas’s tummy. Testing revealed that her then 3 year old son had a tumor, the size of a baseball, on his kidney and was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer. Through nine hours of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Lukas remained brave. Maja credits her faith to getting through what was obviously the toughest years of her life. Lukas has been in remission ever since.
When Maja reached out to me on Instagram and I heard her story, I was compelled to share her strength, her talent and her passion for empowering others. Not long after she first reached out, Maja sent over her sketch of a necklace that she was going to create for me, which incorporated our initials, H, N, L, I and F. Seeing all of our initials together, in a modern piece, was unbelievable. I loved the sketch, but I never imagined that the finished piece would be even more beautiful.
“Working with people and their stories is the most beautiful thing that could have ever happened to me. When negative things happen, I can create healing through my art. When positive things happen, I can pass the happiness forward,” Maja says. “My clients share their stories with me…it is truly a blessing.”
My custom necklace arrived in a box and sweet little gift bag. I couldn’t get it open fast enough. I knew I would love it, but it was honestly so much more than I could have imagined. I became very emotional, seeing a symbol of my family that I could wear around my neck every day. I couldn’t think of a better gift.
It’s no wonder that brides-to-be, parents who wanted a symbol of their family and even others who were experiencing grief have sought her out. Each piece represents a personal story and transforms it into wearable fashion of the highest quality to be cherished for lifetime.
The necklace is sterling silver, a very impressive weight and is extremely well made since Maja works with a local artisan who handcrafts every custom piece she designs. It wasn’t long before it was on my neck and I was proudly wearing it everywhere I went. I have gotten so many compliments on it (especially when they figure out what it is).
“I want to empower women and let them know that when they go through a hard time, there’s something inspiring coming on the other side,” she says, “even if they don’t know it yet.”
Maja’s designs are creations of love, inspired by the story of the wearer. The process takes about three weeks. Maja sketches and handcrafts each one-of-a-kind piece. In the end, the finished jewelry is a vehicle for each person to share their unique message.
For me, it came at the perfect time. Suffering from anxiety has kept me from traveling a lot and I was panicking about our upcoming road trip. The necklace was the perfect reminder that as a family, we could conquer anything as long as we’re together.
This necklace means the world to me and I’m so grateful to Maja for reaching out to me. It’s a keepsake that will help me to remember that my husband and my kids are what gets me through each day.
As if you haven’t heard enough reason to check out Maja’s creations, a percentage of proceeds of all sales through MajaArnold.com are donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital, which she credits with saving her son’s life. Her “Giving Back” initiative is her way of providing support to families with children who are in need. I can’t think of a better cause and a better reason for you to consider getting one of her pieces for someone you love (or even for yourself).
For more information about Maja Arnold designs or to work with Maja on your own custom design, go to majaarnold.com.
What do you think of my new necklace? "