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Knotty Love

Knotty Love

A medal for the modern woman by Mimi Shulman 


February 13, 2023

Mimi Shulman (b. Toronto, ON, 1947); Tokens of Gilt; silver (cast and engraved), vintage ribbons with gilt thread; 9 x 5.2 cm; ROM 2022.24.54. Gift of Carole Tanenbaum.

Mixed-media artist Mimi Shulman’s historical and romantic one-of-a-kind jewellery with bows, hearts, love knots, birds, and cupids cast in silver or gold is designed for modern women. They are expressions of her feelings and fears transformed into a physical object with wit and irony by “taking a serious situation and lightening it.” She plays upon the association of jewellery as gift—even for oneself—that mark life’s events, saying, “I decided that I needed a medal for coming this far in life.” The bar of the medal, hung with deadstock vintage ribbon, is carved in an Endless Knot of Love, with a love poem taken from an antique Valentine card illustrating a 1640 print from Witts Recreation. The wax carving requires precision and can take her up to an hour for a quarter of an inch. Master engraver Frank Philips added the poem.

—Excerpt from the book Canadian Modern (ROM Press, 2022). The medal is currently on view in the Canadian Modern exhibition in the Patricia Harris Gallery at ROM.

Alexandra Palmer, ROM’s Nora E. Vaughan Senior Curator, Global Fashion & Textiles, oversees over 44,000 historical to modern Western artefacts. Her many exhibitions include Fashion Follows Form, winner of the Richard Martin Award. She has contributed to international publications, and authored award-winning books, Christian Dior: History & Modernity, 1947–1957Dior: A New LookA New Enterprise 1947–1957, and Couture & Commerce: The Transatlantic Fashion Trade in the 1950s.

Originally posted by The ROM