I’d like to share a little of my creative process with you but showing you a mini collection I made recently. My ideal Magpie-upcycler scenario is discovering a vintage or antique piece of jewellery and taking it back to my studio whilst I’m still giddy with excitement to create new jewellery from it straight away. I found this enamel Joan Rivers bracelet in York, wish I could show you a photo of the original but it was identical to this https://images.app.goo.gl/zfym1htw5q8AvHpK7
It was perfect so I did feel some regret at destroying it, but I could already imagine how much happier the flowers would be if they were able to move freely, if they had space to breathe. So I’ve got ten flowers to work with, two of which make up the clasp. Which means four pairs of earrings. What takes the time is deliberating our which of a miraid of possibilities will be the best four choices.
The earhooks are gold plated sterling silver, which matched perfectly with the gold rim of the flowers. I added mother of pearl beads from a necklace I found at York Racecourse Car boot sale, and finished them off with beautiful pink sapphires from a vintage bracelet bought at York Antiques Centre. So all the upcycled elements were found in York!
Mismatched earrings aren’t everyone’s cup of herbal tea but they can really freshen a traditional look. I imagine these for a spring wedding with a floral dress. I can’t even remember how long I’ve had the mini wreath of freshwater pearls from, but I cut it free from a vintage necklace of untwined rings of beads which were linked together to create a chain. It must have been really tricky to construct! I should add that the Blue Joker is a type of Pansy that has this colouring, if you were curious about the name!
The small stone beads are reused from an old necklace and are lapis lazuli.
Can you guess why these are the x o earrings? Kisses and hugs in the form of an antique enamel cross and a luxuriously blue salvaged freshwater pearl made me think (actually my husband pointed it out) of the name. Tiny vintage freshwater pearls add to the prettiness.
What did I do with the clasp? It became the foundation of this cheerful, playful necklace. Salvaged freshwater pearls, vintage metal elements and reused stone beads all jostle together, the restrained colour palette drawing attention to the various organic forms. This necklace is cool from the back too, so I’d wear it with an open back dress.
Finally, a pair of classic earrings that don’t mess around, designed to be worn with the necklace or by themselves…for the woman who likes to wear unique, upcycled jewellery but is still into something symmetrical!
What next, now that this mini collection is ready? Labelling each piece shows how it is unique. I hand type the certificates, sign them and attach them to vintage book covers. This collection is heading off to the lovely ladies at http://consciousapparel.co.uk with whom I’m currently collaborating. It’s a joyful thing because they are an online ethical clothing boutique, so they really care about manufacturing processes, and the pieces they stock are to be treasured forever, just like my jewellery.