Nine years ago, Donald Anderson took his life, leaving behind both a family and a treasure of beautiful creations.
Anderson, an oil-rig engineer by trade, was also a jeweler, and would transform his experiences at sea into miniature works - pins and charms - that spoke of infinite vistas.
But Anderson suffered from crippling depression, and eventially it claimed him. His wife, Rebecca, was left with three children and a gaping hole where her husband used to be.
Losing him and that aspect of our life together was the most shattering and disorienting experience I have ever encountered. In the last years of his life, he became more isolated, inaccessible and conflicted. There was an elemental withdrawal that was impossible for me to penetrate.
Rather than dwell on the pain of those last years, Rebecca chose to honor her husband's memory, and complete a project they had dreamed of doing together: publishing a book of his work.
Most of these pieces were made for me, or the kids, or his family. I have told my children we have had the opportunity to live with and know their father's ability to create things of great complexity and beauty. It is a part of who they/we are and we will continue to treasure it forever. Now the book is taking on a new life for others to see and wonder and enjoy.
This charm, "Shelter," is only 1.5 inches in diameter, and made of copper, silver and titanium.
Photograph by Tom Sadowski
Titled "Intimate Immensities," the book - published in a limited release - features an array of Anderson's creations, from letter openers to jewelry to miniature sculptures. Small charms open up to reveal a view of a moon over the ocean; a metal fish doubles as a submarine that would fit nicely in a Jules Verne novel.
Rebecca Anderson enlisted the help of editor John Roth to create the book. Roth says he was instantly captivated by Donald's vision.
Don's work appeals and speaks to me from many levels. The craftsmanship of the work is extraordinary. Too often today, mastery of craft is secondary to content, but not with Don. The work evokes immense stories and worlds, fantasies of multiple dimensions. They tickle the brain while delighting the eye - a very rare achievement in art today. I also am amazed by the complexity of the work, the intricacy of the sculptures and drawings, and the elaborate engineering. And then, of course, I have to say that I love the humor. Don's imagination was huge and filled with whimsy and fun.
"South Pacific" by Donald Anderson
Photograph by Tom Sadowski
For Rebecca Anderson, the completion of the book marks a significant milestone in her family's recovery from her husband's death, and in the honoring of his life.
I never lost sight of what I knew to be true about Don's talent and ability to create such meaningful beauty. I am very proud of this book and that Don's work stands on its own. I have always known the level of quality of the work he was able to do; Don blew the doors off my perception of what art could be.
Anderson hopes the book will eventually lead to an exhibition of her husband's work, allowing even more people to enjoy his magical creations.
What a sad story made beautiful by your efforts that show us such amazing objects.
Incredibly beautiful work by Donald Anderson. This book redeems so much.
Rebecca,thank you for sharing your husband's wonderful works with the rest of us.They give us a glimpse into the heart of a remarkable artist and person..
Janell Oelrich Schreiber
Congratulations on getting the book published, Becky. I know this has been your heart's desire to complete this project to honor Don. What awesomely beautiful work he created! Thank you so much for sharing.
Absolute Magical Pieces of Energy Art! Wow! Healing & Therapeutic and you examine each piece ...bring peace. God Bless his soul and continued thoughts & prayers to all who lost him on this plane. Thank you for sharing these treasures!
It has been so many years now, yet, his spirit is ever present through you, the children and his creations. You (all) will always hold on to the preciousness of his life--now, through the book, there is another dimension-- giving you another platform of completion as you continue moving forward.
Becky has managed to keep the best part of Donald alive by sharing his beautiful creations. Bravo!
Such magical work by Don, the book is both a tribute to him and to the amazing resilience and creativity of his family. Thank you for this piece on the work and the book!
Thank you for sharing Don's remarkable and unique work with the world Becky! I am honored to own a copy of Intimiate Immensities and spend time with the images each day. The beauty of the art, and of the relationship you had with Don inspires my own search for depth and beauty and in life.