Hi! My name is Cleo Dunsmore. I make jewelry because I need it. Each bead, each necklace reminds me of a truth I need to remember, as I wear it. I sculpt each animal because I need its medicine. I strive for greater realism with every artwork, in order to feel the connection to that animal, to bask in its presence.
Owls represent night vision. They are my connection to my own insight, as they see an entirely different world, though that world is here about us, everyday.
Bison remind me to be patient, that power and frantic energy don’t go together. Bison walk, eat, and sleep their way thru their day. When I wear my bison necklace, that is the patience I try to embody.
Each is an artwork in itself, and handmade, for me, by a woodturning artist in Virginia.
All my glass beads are hand made by me in my Maryland studio. I kiln anneal all the peices immediately after creation. Each is rigorously inspected for imperfections, before it reaches you. They are made from luschous Moretti and Krugler glasses.
Enjoy our sculptural animal beads, and goddess beads, listed under totems. Some beads are incorporated into a necklace, and some are loose and ready for you to bring your creativity to the sculpture.
Grama Tortoise’s Beads and Jewelry is named after the mythical Kopechele, the Grandmother Tortoise, whose gift of jewelry helps a young woman to recognize and achieve her potential power. To read the African myth as I heard it when a child, click on the button Grama’s story.
Whether you make your own jewelry, are seeking a spiritual talisman, or simply prefer the unique and striking look, Grama Tortoise offers what you are looking for.