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An artist in our midst: Tom McLaughlin: Honoring the lives of people with autism

Tom McLaughlin of Lennon Jewelers in Clay works on a piece for his autism collection.

Tom McLaughlin of Lennon Jewelers in Clay works on a piece for his autism collection.

— There are many versions of the design in McLaughlin’s catalog — a simple band made up of interlocking puzzle pieces, pendants with the two puzzle pieces held on each side by a smaller and a larger hand, rings, link bracelets, pendants with the image framed by stones — colored and clear. The pieces are crafted from a number of different metals.

For this design, McLaughlin won first place in the 2006 Passion Awards in the CAD Division for Ladies Rings. (CAD design is an emerging technology in jewelry design.) The Passion Award is an international award. He also won second place in another international competition, sponsored by Gemvision in 2007.

It is not just the Central New York community who appreciates this work. The autism collection has been purchased all over the nation. When the work began selling through the internet, Hovey purchased a map to hang in his workshop and she pinned each point where parts of the collection found homes.

“From Portland, Ore., to up and down the east coast and Canada, my pieces helped people honor their lives,” McLaughlin said. “That’s what jewelry is all about anyway.”

He was surprised to find that the puzzle band was also popular as a wedding band for those not affected by autism. The symbol of working together to put together new meanings lends itself to an understanding of marriage.

This award-winning collection has earned McLaughlin a copyright on the design from the Library of Congress. See it at Lennon’s Jewelers, Route 31, Market Fair North in Clay, or on the website at lennonsjewelry.com.

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