Thursday, March 5, 2009

reimagining jewelry

Can you have too many hobbies? I guess the answer is YES if you run out of time, room or money, but so far i have just a wee bit of all three left so i've been making jewelry. I've done some beading in the past, but generally i've just been hoarding cool beads and findings. Most of you know that i collect vintage jewelry. On my quest to find different interesting pieces I keep finding lovely necklaces that are either broken or just not quite right (wrong length or overall shape) but they were cheap or free so i saved them. I've decided to use the incredible vintage beads and give them new life by restringing them into pieces that are whole and are more modern. Here was a cool early 60's choker in two textures of teal plastic that was both too short and had a broken clasp. I went to the loose vintage bead jar to see what we could find to add some length to the finished necklace I just love to look through and sort these. This was my chance to use the bead tray/funnel that Kathy V gave me, which was awesome but had to keep reminding myself to be careful of the open hole on the end. I found some oddly shaped clear beads with blue insets that were in the same color family Then i went to the metal box to look for something to fix the broken clasp Unbelievably I found a lone clasp with no necklace that was a perfect match so i used my favorite Craftsman mini pliers (lifetime guarantee, people!) to take the bead chain off of the necklace and hook, divide them evenly and attach them to the found clasp I then unstrung the necklace and tried different configurations with the found beads. There are no pictures of this step because i was really having difficulties with it fitting together into a cohesive piece; though the beads were the same color and from roughly the same era they just wouldn't marry. Finally i tried some modern spacers and voila! Next there was a double choker from the late 50's that was WAY too short Did people really have 12 inch necks back then? The beads look like plastic, but they are actually glass so the necklace was really heavy as well. I decided to tear it apart and start from scratch so i pulled out the beading tray that was a present from the lovely Rea and fiddled with it until it was one longer, lighter strand. Sometimes a necklace is too damaged to be saved intact This bad boy was short, had yellowed spacers, was missing beads and let's not even talk about that bumpy cream monstrosity in the middle, but there were enough intact and lovely beads to make a bracelet once i combined it with a little gold bow clasp from one of my childhood necklaces that i've been saving for almost 30 years. Some of these new pieces i intend to keep for myself (my favorite from this night of work that was just a broken half necklace that i completely reworked, but someone forget to take a "before" picture of it) while others i am going to put into my Etsy shop. In fact, when i took several pieces to work to have them photographed on people (team members Felicia and Carrie pictured above) logistics coordinator Wendy bought the 2 bracelets i had created from a hideous 1987 necklace before i even had a chance to list them. There are quite a few more pieces that are in mid-process. It has taken me longer to figure out how to do some of the ends and knotting and findings than i anticipated. But as i finish them, i'll share.


Kaaren said...

the ones in pinks/purples is so pretty

Kathy said...

I love it, what a great idea. Can't wait to see more.