After a while, many of us who collect old bits of things, old buttons, watch parts, beads and hardware, find that these treasures start to FIND us. I have several friends in various parts of the country who know what it is that I collect and who keep their eyes open and ears to the ground , with my little list in mind. Occasionally, I will find a box or an envelope in the mail with broken jewelry, rusted metal or old buttons and linens tucked inside. Many other folks ask me what I do with all of these bits of fluff and whatnot and to some, TRASH. So I thought that I would share a bit of my creative process with you! Above you can see a picture of some of the various bits form my stash, everything from broken jewelry chains, to single earrings, to beads and old buttons.
THe majority of these items I modify in some way. I will combine a single earring with the decorative back of a vintage shoe clip to show off the wonderful embossed decoration on the clip back. I will wire several buttons together to make an attractive dangle element and I will seperate the chains into smaller bits and reassemble into a collage chain format. I also make my own bead elements out of bits of quilted fabrics, hand painted cloth and seed beads. Sometimes I add beads created from painted and melted tyvek or distressed felt. Anything that is found with a hole in it becomes a bead or I will find A way to wire wrap a hole-less item or drill a hole in something that was not intended to be a "bead".
For example, here I have created a sterling silver wire and vintage button grouping to create a necklace dangle. The underwear button (pre elastic invention, with the two oversized holes) has two mother of pearl childrens clothing buttons and a white leather shoe button attached to it.
In the picture above you can see a collage that I have created in a vintage watch case. After I have amassed my elements and created a theme for my particular creation , I begin linking all of the bits together to create a jewelry collage. I cannot share anymore pictures of this particular piece right now as this will be on it's way to a dear friend, for a birthday celebration. WHen the piece arrives at it's destination, I will be free to reveal the entire piece.
I may not know what I will be using each and every little bit for, when I find it, but I do know that each part will play an important role in each of my collage jewelry creations. By putting all of these little bits of singularly insignificant ephemera together, a new creative and cohesive whole is formed and each bit is honored as an integral member of that new piece of jewelry