Sunday, November 15, 2015

Upcycling: From a Watch to a Necklace

Jewelry making is an art and craft I usually admire in others. But, I'm curious and often like a challenge.

This is an old and half-broken Swatch I have been playing with the last couple of weekends. The plastic fasteners around the face have broken off the bottom and it has not been able to be a watch for a long time. But I love the design of the face: a strong sun in the center and variously colored planets at each five minute mark. Playing with ideas to recycle and upcycle it as a necklace, I had several ideas but testing them on materials showed just how many options are available and how limited my experience and skill level is.

There was a point when I almost gave up and researched buying a "vintage" replacement of my watch; however, I could not find that design online anywhere. Besides, the history of this watch could not be duplicated--a memory of first seeing and purchasing this Swatch about 1999 in a cool shop in a nearby college town with a friend who now lives further afield. Then, I also remember being befuddled with making books until I found some bindings I liked and could actually do. 

So, I pressed onward, doing things I know how to do, with materials I know how to use. A piece of thick scrap leather, eyelets, Irish linen thread, some beads, dangles, a blank chain, and some leather cord. A bit of wire twisting and hammering. Some guess-ti-mate measurements. Some temporary openings.

And, I am very happy with the results.

Am I an expert jewelry maker now? No way. But I had fun. And I learned a lot. And I solved a problem. Doing so has given me confidence to try again. I especially like being able to bring old memories to life, to be rebirth them in another form.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Mixed-Up Journal

What do you do with lots and lots of paintings and experiments? Combine them into a Mixed-Up Journal! Combing through a big box, I chose ones I really liked and ones that needed a make-over.

For the covers, I used Davey boards in a 10.50" x 7.50" size to use more of the folded watercolor papers, mainly my favorite Fabriano Artistico hot press. Bookcloth in a beautiful turquoise color covered the bare boards and I attached part of one of my paintings for the front. Dark brown leather strips and some teal Irish linen thread starred on the sewn-over-tapes binding style. Endpapers are another painting.

I left a lot of room in the binding to allow for collage and attachments. I love being able to use little bits and pieces as well as the larger sizes of watercolor paper.

Even though the book has a lot of painting already done, each can be altered. I know there are some not so great pieces will get some gesso and paint, if not a great photograph or photo transfer, fabric, leaves, mementoes, and various embellishments. And, there are all the backsides that are blank and awaiting!

This is such a fun format and I’ve already begun this journal, feeling so free experimenting and playing.