03 April 2010

Inspired by...Before and After

"You don't get creative by staying in the same place." ~ Andy Law

Gold branch link from a Target clearance find paired with cranberry pearls and garnets

Every single piece of jewelry that I make is one of a kind. You cannot buy it in a department store, at a home party or through a catalog. But that hasn't stopped numerous people I have encountered to decry that they have seen that exact piece of jewelry at Kohl's or Target or in Lia Sophia. I have nothing against jewelry from department stores, home parties or catalogs. I own jewelry from all three. But what I don't care for is when my creative vision is confused with what could be purchased en masse at a large retailer.

Wood discs from a necklace found at Goodwill

I remember when I was one of the first people in my area to have a home jewelry party. But then I started seeing the exact same pieces on other women in the check out line, at church or just walking down the street. That was when I stopped wearing them. But I had invested a lot of money into them. So I decided to take them apart and make something new.

I knew I was on to something when a friend who bought the exact same home party piece recognized a bead or link from hers in my revamped masterpiece. She realized that what I was doing was setting myself apart. And she wanted me to make something from her jewelry box treasures so that her adornments set her apart.

Before...her grandma's lapis lazuli necklace and earrings

After (in progress)..."Being of Beauty" for Bridget's 21st birthday with sari silk ribbon, swirly yellow Jangles disks, orange-y wings from Earthenwoods and my own resin 2-sided "Seeds of Inspiration" pendant


There is treasure in your own jewelry box. I tell people to never overlook what they already have. And updating a look, revamping a style is not only great for your individuality but is great for the environment. By looking at your past jewelry (or that found on the clearance rack at your favorite retailer) with a critical eye, you can see the individual parts as more important than the whole, and that is when you can kick your creativity into overdrive and create something new and better from those same pieces. And you are keeping it out of a landfill someplace.

Vintage Swarovski crystals, pearls, smoky quartz and an antique pressed glass button

I have a very good client who has strands of vintage Swarovski crystals in shapes that have not been made in over 50 years. Some of the individual beads they have go for $2-5 dollars each at respectable vintage bead dealers. But they are outdated as strands and in some cases missing clasps or using string that has disintegrated over the years. I have made these treasures into countless bracelets, necklaces and earrings for her and her family. It preserves a piece of history for her and makes it something more current that she is excited to share with the next generation.

Clearance rack necklaces...I like the mysterious nature of these. That black silk and the chain mixed with an ivory glass link from Cindy Gimbrone perhaps?

Some of the most surprisingly consistent source of customers for me has been in revamping a dated look of theirs. I always tell my clients and friends that they should not throw out the treasure in their jewelry boxes. If you are like me, you might be a hoarder. I have my grandmother's jewelry and trendy pieces from 80s and 90s and antique pieces that I have acquired over the years. I have friends who have gifted me with the contents of their jewelry boxes or grandmas or Aunt Tillie's and you wouldn't believe the treasures that were within. But I also like to take apart my Lia Sophia purchases, or I might be attracted by one link on a clearance rack piece to inspire a whole new direction.

Clearance rack bracelets...I am picturing these with some turquoise nuggets and a focal pendant from Every Heart Crafts. I am thinking fun and fresh, how about you?

I have found that people want a connection to the past, with a look to the future. They want to wear the treasures that they have in their boxes, and they want it to be unique and speak to their personality and taste.

Clearance rack necklaces and earrings...These beachy tones make me think of the subtle beauty of Jade Scott's pendants and some of Kelley's glass beads. What do you see?

And I find it a challenge to turn to something that has a past and upcycle it into something with new life.
Clearance rack necklaces...I love the deep blood red color here. And the chain. I am swooning! I see this paired with some of Lynn Davis' gorgeous rustic pewter pieces. Can you see it, too?

So now it is your turn...are you up to the challenge? The April Inspired by...Before and After challenge is on...what raw materials are waiting for you to be creatively remastered? You can go to the department store, like I did and raid the clearance rack, or go through your own jewelry box for those things that have seen better days, or perhaps a neighbor or friend or family member would like an update to her style.

You don't have to use the entire piece in your revamp. Maybe it is just the focal that you like, or the shape of the chain, or the clasp. And how much greater will these pieces look when combined with a Jade Scott pendant, an Every Heart Crafts focal, a Lynn Davis fauxtique or a lampworked ring from Cindy Gimbrone!

How it works:
  • Create a piece of jewelry (earrings, necklace or bracelet) using the inspiration of the Revamped jewelry {it can be something you own, or pick up on a clearance rack, or something that you get from a friend...just be sure to show us a BEFORE picture!}
  • Post your pictures to the Flickr account here.
  • If you are so inspired {and I hope you will be!}, feel free to create as many pieces as you like for challenge and post to the Flickr account, but your name will only be entered once. (For extra BONUS ENTRY opportunities, see below). You have until 11:59 pm CST on Friday, April 3oth to post to the Flickr account.
In the description of your picture be sure to add the following:
  • Title of the piece
  • Short description of your inspiration {be sure to include what part is revamped!}
  • Your Name
  • Your email address
  • Your blog or website
BONUS ENTRY OPPORTUNITIES:

  • If you use an art bead in your piece {art bead is defined as a bead or component created by yourself or another artisan}, be sure to point that out in your description {with a link to the appropriate artisan’s website, shop or blog} and you will have THREE extra entries.

  • If you blog, Facebook, Twitter, sky write or take out a billboard to publicize each week’s challenge, be sure to let me know {leave a comment on that week's challenge} and your name will be in for ONE extra entry.

  • That's a total of FIVE ENTRIES!
Go forth and get inspired!

Enjoy the day!

12 comments:

peacockfairy said...

What a great challenge! I am right there with you, always scanning over the racks in my favorite stores!

Erin said...

Love the challenge, Erin! Hope I will get a chance to make some jewelry soon! Thank you so much for using my work!

Judy said...

Erin, such a great post! I am the queen of re-vamping things. I love to re-invent most anything. This sounds like fun!

lunedreams said...

Ha! I've done this! Used a pair of fabu sterling silver earrings I got at TJ Maxx for pendants--big chunky hollow rectangles that became two different necklaces. A bunch of jewelry from the Las Vegas $10 accessory store got dismembered too--awesome glass beads that worked better elsewhere. Great idea for a challenge, very unique!

stregata said...

This sounds like a very inspiring challenge!!
Wishing you a Happy Easter, Erin!!

Riki Schumacher said...

Hi Erin, I'm going to try to do this! I have a piece I just did (that my neighbor bought) and might work for your challenge. Love the concept, wonderful idea. Look forward to the entries. Take care, Riki

Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

Very interesting idea. I've never tried revamping anything like this before. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled when I pass by those clearance racks.

Alice said...

What a great theme for a challenge! I just love your revamped pieces, and I'm sure your friend will love hers when you are finished!

Silver Parrot said...

What a great idea! Oh, and I am loving that butterfly resin focal in the piece you are working on.

Also, I am soooo sending you all my old 80's costume jewelry that is cluttering up my closet LOL!

The Empress said...

I love that I found this blog.

I am not one bit creative, so I love peaking into your world.

This is so much more than a crafty blog. I love seeing the process you go through, your inspriation, how you assemble it in your head.

I'm hooked. love seeing how the other half lives.
I wish I had an award to give you. Maybe I"ll make one up.

Thank you for the jaw dropping awesomeness.

maneki said...

Re-purposing old jewellery is a lot of fun. I've found some neat beads and findings in sometimes broken jewellery found at flea markets, charity or second-hand shops. An extra bonus about the charity shop is not only do you re-use parts that otherwise might have been thrown away, you also support a good cause.

And, yes, I've also bought cheap costume jewellery just to get to that special pendant, charm, connector or what ever it might be that caught my eye. When there's a sale it's a great opportunity to find something useful for a bargain price.

This sounds like a really fun and inspirational challenge!

Holly said...

Okay, so this is an awesome idea! I love the idea of repurposing something that isn't quite "you" and changing it around completely....thanks for the bit of inspiration! Hopefully I'll come out of the creative black hole I'm sitting in right now!

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