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Honoring a Life of Green-Flash Brilliance

By Robin Pierson, Special to the Independent

 

The Woman’s Club artist event owes its inspiration to jewelry maker Liz Malloy.

In celebration and in honor of Liz Malloy, the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach will be holding its Fall Women Artists event on Sunday, Nov. 11 from 12-5 p.m.

The event, which gives local women the chance to showcase their artistic talents and sell their handcrafted splendors, was championed by Malloy, who died of cancer on Aug. 30, 2012. She was 66.

While working as a teacher and in the telecommunications industry, Malloy’s artistic talents laid dormant until, after earning enough money to comfortably sustain herself, she escaped the corporate world and tapped into her passion for creating beauty. The reservoir of creativity and skill stored up in Malloy was huge. After quickly mastering beading, she moved on to fusing glass and metal smithing. Combining her advanced jewelry making abilities with nature’s bounty – riveting gems and pearls from around the world – Malloy created one of a kind, elegant, whimsical, captivating pieces. The diversity of her designs ensured that anyone could find something to love in her collections, and her new career as a jeweler bloomed.

For the last five years, Malloy co-chaired the Women Artist events, helping others find their voice and a venue for their wares. She raised the non- profit event, now in its 10th year, to a new level as the driving force behind a scholarship to be awarded this year to a local student attending Laguna College of Art and Design.

Following her cancer diagnosis, Malloy did everything her doctors recommended, stoically submitting to countless invasive procedures and toxic brews administered with never ending needle pricks. Despite what was going on in her fight for life, she never failed to ask, “How are you? Please tell me.”

When her doctors told her they could do no more, and the realization that she didn’t have much time sunk in, Malloy, clear headed and thinking of others, put her finances in order, cataloged her jewelry to be sold at future fundraisers, carefully distributed her tools to those who needed them most, organized her sock drawer and called the mortuary.

As she drifted towards death this summer, there were many green-flash sunsets, piercing beams of neon green, aqua light, glowing for a moment then gone with the sun. Malloy was like a green flash sunset, brilliant, beautiful and subtle. Many people don’t see the green flashes, fleeting and unexpected as they are. And if you didn’t pay attention, you could miss Malloy’s specialness. While her external beauty, grace and dignity were always on display, it was her inner wisdom that spoke to those who listened. Her counsel touched many and her humor in hard times and good, always found its way into a conversation.

When a friend sat at her death bed, saying that they would see each other again in another life or in another time, Malloy quipped “And you better be wearing one of your pieces of jewelry so I can recognize you.”

Most of all, in her final days, and throughout her life, Malloy bestowed love, especially to her son Jim, her staunchest ally, her pride, her joy and the person she treasured most.

Malloy wanted no flowers, but according to her son, wished “that you reach out to your close family and friends and let them know how much you love and appreciate them. It is the simplest, yet most generous gift.”

However, Malloy, an always well put together fashionista, was not averse to shopping. In her honor, please join in a celebratory shopping spree at the Woman’s Club located at 286 St. Ann’s Dr. on Sunday, Nov. 11. Along with original photography, hand knit items, paintings and vintage style bags, there will be a silent auction, refreshments and music. The event is free.

 

Robin Pierson is a Laguna Beach-based writer.

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