They had endured innumerable crises and experiences; their love was a story for the ages. Harry and Carla Workman turned to Matthews jeweler Mark Frye to capture their constant faith and love in wearable form.
When long-time jeweler, Mark Frye, manager of Trade Street Jewelers (100 West John Street), was asked to create a one-of-a-kind necklace for the Workman family, last fall, he knew little about the back story and the long journey which was about to unfold right before his eyes.
His clients, Harry and Carla Workman of Mint Hill, had previously lived a 15-year family journey – starting with Carla taking on Harry’s three children at marriage, to Carla’s subsequent diagnosis with cancer. Then, four years ago, her mother was diagnosed with brain cancer (and passed).
They had endured innumerable crises and experiences; this was a story for the ages, said Harry, who had all along imagined an infinity symbol with an anchor as an indelible image reflecting their constant faith and love.
And, so, he asked his daughter to create such an image; they also toyed with getting matching tattoos on their ring fingers. Then, one day, last year, he got a tattoo of such an anchor on his forearm and went home to show his wife.
She said, “I’m not going to get a tattoo like that!” But, she had a thought: to create a likeness of that same image using pieces of both her mother’s jewelry and her own. Who better to ask this of but her beloved jeweler, Mark.
By using the images provided, Mark would make a three-dimensional piece of what was two dimensional. Together with a designer from Texas, who cast the piece, the result would allow “the full design with the breaks and wraps” which you can’t see on the flat image.
At points, Mark says, he and the Workmans were in touch so often that their conversations eclipsed those he’d usually have with his family or children. One month later, the final creation was born.
“I love the symbol of all of it,” said Carla. “It’s beautiful,” she said, adding that she wears it all the time. To secure the free-dangling hooks, Mark eventually put the three-dimensional piece on a solid shape of white gold so that the fragile end pieces wouldn’t break or get caught on clothing.
“The tattoo has become a story of our love story,” Harry said. “The emblem has become a family crest. [Now] Carla wears precious metal from the precious family. [Our symbol] is memorialized from this medallion that Mark made so beautifully.”
Although Mark is often asked to make custom pieces, this experience has touched his heart and cemented his relationship with the Workmans. “This was a unique experience,” he said. “This was different because it had a story that had deep sentiment to them - that was the significance.” Add in the request “coming from an already great customer,” and the result meant a lot to Mark, too. It is work which gives his talents and skills even greater meaning.
In the future, Harry doesn’t think that any more anchors will be created for family members, but he and Carla have their own design, forever. “It’s something really special between us,” said Carla. “That we’re always going to be bound together…in infinity.”
Kind of like their relationship with Mark.