Maja Arnold Designs

Artist Brings Our Stories to Life

Article by Dr. Libbi Finnessy

Photography by Jay Hendrickson

Originally published in Bellevue Lifestyle

Ever wonder why a wedding band is typically worn on one’s left “ring” finger? It directly connects a loved one to your heart—literally and figuratively. Beginning with ancient Roman culture, the belief that a vein in the fourth digit known as the Vena Amoris (Vein of Love) directly carries blood back to one’s heart, the symbolism of the ring/marriage and where it is always worn would hold your loved one close forever—till death do you part.

But what happens when death does part us? Be an ill-fated parent or a child taken too soon—what then? How do we hold onto them?

Some needle ink into their bodies, trusting the pain in their flesh will somehow rid them of part of the laceration they forever carry in their hearts—and maybe, just maybe, that black Kuro Sumi ink might allow the extremely missed soul to live on and walk beside him or her as they continue on. Many others struggle with how to reconnect the phantom limb after the death of a loved one.

Maja Arnold traumatically met this burden in the early morning hours in 2007, when her sweet baby girl, Isabella, left this world due to SIDS. Just two years, Isabella’s twin brother, Lucas, was diagnosed with cancer. After two unimaginable tragedies no parent should ever have to endure, Maja, an exquisite artist, set out to find a piece of jewelry to commemorate the loss of her daughter; her son’s battle with cancer; and her third child,  Ella.

Maja entered the rabbit hole of Googling yet found nothing that was quite right. Instead of getting discouraged, she decided to create something herself: after hours of intricate hand-sketching, a stunning epitaph transformed into a gold necklace she never removes, connecting her three children right to her heart. Her pendant transcends time and death and fills her heart that was once broken and forever cracked with love and a constant reminder of her story—her struggles—but most importantly, her strength.

People soon took notice, from other parents at school to the editors at Good Housekeeping. Maja began to share her craft, not only creating a modern emblem for people to hold their dear ones close but also, more importantly, inspiring others with her story and retelling theirs via an organic and always unique creation for her clients to wear.

It's important to Maja in today’s world of 3D printing and mass production to use her own two hands—her brilliant, gifted extremities—to create individual pieces every time she starts to sketch. Maja believes that not only our strengths but also our weaknesses make us special and unique. Instead of hiding her struggles, she celebrates them as a badge of honor, not only because they make her who she is, but because we all have our own stories and crosses to bear—which make us extraordinary. If you have ever turned the pages of The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, you should recall the valuable lesson that universal acceptance because of our uniqueness is the only way to achieve peaceful and meaningful co-existence. We all should take a lesson from Maja and the way she and the Sneetches celebrate their scars just as much as their stars.  

Be you. Be kind. Be proud.

The lives this artist has touched are endless. Maja creates immortality through her craft. Whether you want to commemorate lost loved ones or recapture independence in your own monogram, Maja is the divine being to bring your story to life.

Follow Maja on Instagram @Shopmajaarnold. For more information, visit MajaArnold.

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