Recycling for Parts

R.I.P. old bag

I’ve been thinking lately about recycling. Not the environmentally conscious stuff that we should all be doing but the kind of recycling that relates to jewelry making. And no, I’m not talking about making earrings from bottle caps and old keys (although that could be fun). I’m talking about taking a pair of sharp scissors and (yikes!) dismembering a piece of jewelry for the parts. Perhaps it’s partially a reaction to the ever escalating prices for beads, but I think – “that particular necklace or bracelet may have taken many many hours to make, but what the heck, it wasn’t my greatest effort and those lampwork beads and swarovski crystals are calling to me.”

I did the recycling thing recently with a leather bag that I’d had forever. I had shown it at a local gallery and at numerous art shows but to no avail. Now I have a bunch of turquoise, carnelian, and sterling silver beads that will be put to much better use! (and a bag with no fringe or neck chain)

Two Necklaces by Joan Babcock 2012

I’ve also been recycling some design ideas. I just recently got a box of necklaces returned to me that I’d given to my mother-in-law for her birthday over the years. She’s reached a stage in her life where she can no longer use them. I thought that one of the necklace styles would be fun to make again. The length is much longer than usual – made at a time when tunics were popular I guess.
I, like most artists, always want to try something new and different to keep the creative juices flowing – but once in a while it’s nice to revisit some of the tried and true designs of yesteryear. If enough time has passed and your memory has lapses (as mine often does), it can be just like you’re making it for the first time.

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