Saturday, January 30, 2016

What's on My Bench???

This week's episode is from JET member Mollie Ann of RoughMagicCreations. She is going to discuss upcycling.

Back in October I wrote about my plans for reclaiming beads from the vintage necklace pictured on the left, which I had unearthed while prospecting for treasure in a nearby antiques mall.

Well. That project is "in Beta," but while letting those plans incubate, I couldn't resist attacking the necklace on the right, discovered in the same semi-archaeological site.

Strung on its irredeemable strip of leather, this piece alternates nine fat tube beads with stations of heishi, all in a russet, reddish brown palette. To my eye, the beads appear to be Abo, African beads from Ghana, but they may be horn, bone, or something else entirely. Whatever they are, I love their primitive, rustic look - très trendy.

For compatible beads, I had several choices ready to hand: vintage lucite rounds, porcelain and/or Czech glass, or perhaps some African copper trade beads.

Tinkering with this, that and the other, I began to feel a bit like Goldilocks:
these are too shiny; these are too dark; these are too-- well, you see what I mean.

In short, nothing I tried delivered the "Aha!" I was looking for. 

Then, while I was working on a bracelet for my niece, my fickle and flighty Muse returned, whispered "Brass and wood," and -- as is often the case -- surprised me.

My niece loves her bracelet ... 

And I love my necklace almost too much to sell. The operative word is "almost."

For me one of the most rewarding things about designing jewelry is the thrill of that moment when, after all the trial and (mostly) error, things suddenly fall into place and you know you've got it right. 

A note about reusing vintage components: Whether you call it upcycling, repurposing or reclaiming, discovering new ways to use previously loved finds is eco-friendly, earth conscious, and, when your oldies are earthy, natural and boho chic, downright smart in the bargain. Not to mention the fun of it all -- the hunting and gathering, the planning and learning, the creation of a unique new design.

Little wonder recycling is trending!

Thank you Mollie for that glimpse into your creative process. Please return next week for another episode of What's on My Bench, this time from JET member Phylly.


capitalcitycrafts said...

Great job Mollie!

Cher said...

Fabulous Mollie! Your fickle muse was spot on... I love both pieces, but especially that bracelet (whore that I am for them, lol) It's always such fun to recycle beautiful treasures, rather than let them waste away unappreciated in a drawer somewhere :)

Beadsme said...

Wonderful Mollie. Looks beautiful.

Michele said...

Came out very pretty, nice bracelet for your niece!!!

SendingLoveGallery said...

love your upcycled designs!

Brooke said...

Love what you did with those strands!

jemsbyjb said...

Mollie you did a great job with the bracelet. YOu ae one talented woman!!

LoveStoneArts said...

Isn't it odd how the answer comes to us when least expected? Your pieces are a beautiful example of repurposing Mollie.