Monday, December 22, 2008

Found Object Jewelry: Beach Pebble Necklace

Here is my last project for 2008. I've not sorted out the closure for it yet so this is still a work in progress but I want to share it to get some feedback on it so far.

It's a monster of a pendant measuring 9.5 cm wide x 9cm (3 3/4" x 3 1/2") and is made with found beach pebbles, cold constructed copper tube and wire plus rope stained with tea. My intention with this piece is to try to embody the spirit of the discarded rusty metal and natural objects that I collect from the streets and on walks in nature. It's a quirky compulsion of mine and I've been wanting to work it out in my jewellery designs to see where it leads.

I'm enjoying the result of this necklace so far but I'm still a little hesitant about it for reasons I can't quite put my finger on yet. Maybe it's because it's uncharted territory for me and I need to do a lot more experimenting with this new direction. I think maybe I also fear this necklace is a a little too much like my work in college which is a bit dated. I want this new work to be more edgy, different. I probably just need to follow it through and start on another piece to just keep experimenting and exploring and not get too hung up.

Give a shout!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Recycled Materials: Plastic Pull Tabs Bracelet (from Milk cartons)

Jewelry making experiments with recycled materials continues to bring exciting new discoveries to my studio. I really enjoy making jewelry that challenges me as well as the wearer to reconsider traditional perceptions of what we think jewelry is or should be.

Since my exploration of exclusively using recycled materials in jewelry began earlier in the year I have been hoarding all sorts of interesting things from my recycling bin before putting it out for its weekly collection. One mound of objects that has been growing are the interesting little plastic pull tabs from our cartons of milk. I really love the shape of them and their flexibility. I've been living with this bracelet for a few weeks now not sure weather it needs any embellishment or not. I'm so intrigued as it is I'm not sure that it needs anything else. Though, I am considering adhering small fluff balls to each to transform it into something a bit more outrageous. Then again since my stock pile of pull tabs grows I could just make another one. What do you think?

Another interesting aspect about recycling and using recycled materials in art is that as you are drawn to collecting specific objects you really begin to see how many of the damn things we disregard. Then you think well this is just what I personally use and recycle on a weekly basis. What about all the things that are used, NOT recycled and end up in the landfill? It's important to reflect on these thoughts at this point in time, the population is growing rapidly, the global economy as we know it is falling apart and we will have to look for better ways of taking care of ourselves and our environment. How will you participate in the future?

Give a shout!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jewelry Design Studies with Found Objects

This pendant and ring are studies or 3D sketches for a new jewelry concept I want to start working on. The concept isn't developed but my point of departure stems from my interest in using found objects and recycled materials. Both the pendant and ring pictured here are made from pebbles I found on the beach in Maine and both the copper wire and aluminum wire have been salvaged by my brother from his electrical job.

I'm not too concerned about craftsmanship with these pieces as I consider them sketches. Though I do like rough treatment of the materials as it gives it a bit more of a rustic character which is maybe something I'd like to make more intentional in future pieces. I love urban decay and weathered materials such as wood and rusty metal so this might be fitting for the new concept.

I'm really excited about using more found objects and recycled materials in my work. It has really changed the way I make jewelry, mainly not using a torch, and has also helped me make mental connections about some designs I wasn't sure about making in the past. Plus being more honest about where my raw materials are sourced from makes me feel better about my impact on the environment and people who are labouring in the metal mines under horrible conditions around the world.

Speaking of being more responsible National Geographic's feature article, "Gold: The True Cost of a Global Obsession" in their January 2009 issue should be on every jeweler/metalsmith/designermaker's bench right now. It is a fantastic artilcle that hopefully will stir up a lot of discussion. Keep your eye on my blog as this week I will being writing my response to the article.

Give a shout!