Cassandra's quote pendants began when her cousin Matilda Goad asked her to engrave some words from her grandmother that she wanted to keep with her always. Not wanting the words to be easily readable by others, Cassandra created a pendant shaped like a worn and treasured Roman coin with its uneven outline and surface. She then engraved it with the words in a spiral, like the French arrondissements or an 'en colimacon' staircase, often looping the serifs of the letters from one line to the next.
The words of the first pendant were:
Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and make a trail.
There are now more than 20 quote pendants in the collection and Cassandra continues to add to them whenever she finds words that inspire her. This year, she is celebrating 35 years of designing and has added three new quotes: from Shakespeare, Andre Gide and an anonymous one. She keeps a commonplace book into which she notes down phrases, quotations from novels and poems, and sayings in any language. Cassandra has also undertaken bespoke projects using quotes and words that have been brought to her. They can be in any language, created in any design and even written in the writer's own handwriting.
Cassandra recalls where her love of writing and literature began:
There was a kind of drawbridge to the art room at school, reached through a path in the woods. It was there, in the poor light on gnarled wooden tables that I learned from Miss Lomax the art of beautiful lettering. I inked out with my pen, row upon row of italic lower case 'e's'. And on the next page 'c's', and best of all were the 's's'!. I loved to dip my pen in the pots of Quink Ink: purple, green, brown, turquoise and of course red for Christmas. I always write with an ink pen, and I love to change the colour of the ink with the seasons. You need a calligraphic pen to write in the Italic style, the swishes of serifs and the flourishes of, what I call 'the exotic letters' like Q and R and Z need the 'thick and thin' of the italic nib.
The beautiful shapes of some of the letters have always made me fall in love with certain words because of the composition of the letters, or remember people for their exotic initials. Like the name 'Zoraide' that was given by Champollion (the Frenchman who unravelled the secrets of Hieroglyphics) to his daughter. It was through my godfather Charles Monteith that I fell in love with typography and literature. A brilliant man, with a smooth egg shaped head, round black thick rimmed glasses that he peered down at me with as he was over 6ft 6". He ran Faber and Faber the publishers and was a fellow of All Souls', Oxford . He gave me my first real Italic pen, and books as presents with beautiful Eric Gill calligraphy on the covers. Later, another type aficionado at Fabers: Sue Shaw (who has sadly just died) took me to Monotype, and to her Type Museum in London. And there the goldsmith, scientist and artist met in a very long, converted elephant house in Stockwell.
The combination of my love of jewellery, typefaces and the art of lettering AND literature is all contained in my Quote pendants. When I find a new quote, I play with the words, with the serifs, with the layout. I ponder it over time to be sure it offers encouragement and empowers the wearer wherever their life may take them. I love to think of godparents, grandparents and friends sharing the quotes, binding them together through life, however far apart they may be.
How Cassandra is giving back with her quote pendants:
Through two of her quote pendants Cassandra has found a way to 'give back.' Profits from her 'Onwards' pendant have gone to the Endeavour Fund, and during Covid-19 to the charity 'Salute the NHS' who have been providing hot meals to those working in the NHS. She has also pledged to give away a number of her pendants to people who have made a difference during this Covid-19 crisis.
Cassandra's love of gardens and flowers brought her to help with the incredible work of Horatio's Garden - the charity that helps to create thriving gardens in NHS Spinal Centres. Working closely with Horatio's family they suggested the words 'May love abound all round' and so Cassandra engraved these words onto the pendants and, also onto the oval outline of cufflinks, with all profits going to Horatio's Garden. So far Cassandra has raised almost £10,000 for Horatio's Garden and a similar sum for the Endeavour Fund.
Click here to view the list of all our Quote Pendants.