I started creating with “jewelry and junk” after my Mom moved to an assisted living facility and weren’t sure what to do with her 27 drawers of jewelry — some of it of the costume variety but all of it special for one reason or another — mostly because it was hers.
Both Joan and I were looking for a way to celebrate our memories of which shell earrings she used to wear with which muumuu, the stunning pieces that she purchased on her travels — Mexican silver, a crown-shaped ring from Thailand, a seemingly endless supply of pins from cruise-ships and state capitals and special events. We sifted through it all and separated out the “good stuff” between the three of us.
It wasn’t long before Joan was making bookmarks with beads (we sold these at Dark Horse Books), and treasures such as this lovely clock — which has been a beloved part of our home for a LONG time.
I started making frames and tins for friends, then tried my hand at more difficult pieces using all kinds of recycled bits. It didn’t matter whether it was a cap off a Bic pen or a spangly rhinestone earring — everything seemed to find a place somewhere (even if it rested a good long while in my collection of “stuff.”) You can check out a lot of my work here and here, (this latter is one of three FB photo albums of my work).
Soon people were saving things for me; I’d be gone for an afternoon from the bookstore and might come back to find a box or baggie of jewelry, or odd-shaped bits of packaging, that some thoughtful person had brought in for me.
This giant piece is made of hundreds of pieces of kids stuff — toys, dominos, plastic figurines, even a baby-doll arm. Inspiration indeed.
And suddenly, in February, after years of doing my artwork, I have discovered many others who are working with found materials to create amazing pieces.
She has created amazing canonical works — including Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” and portraits of Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe. She calls herself an “artist in found materials” — love that description.
I also recently learned that several of my cousins are making tins and other multi-media pieces, like these two made by my cousins Janie and Laura.
I also really like these shoes, which a friend saya on Facebook and tagged for me. They’re of Swarovsky crystals, mostly…
I’m not sure how they get the beads to stay on them but they are certainly inspiring!
Which brings to my latest effort….
Last week, I donated this little book tin to Ollie-Fest, a fundraiser for the Eva Dahlgren/Dan Hundere family. It was given away in the raffle; not knowing the recipient, I found him on Facebook and send him a message, saying that I was hoping to chat with him about this unique piece.
He wrote back that his daughters, four- and six-years old, “absolutely loved it. They filled it with all sorts of fun stuff and have carried it around the house the yard and collected shells and leaves from all over the yard.”
I’m so happy to know they are playing with it and enjoying it — lots of good synergy there. The tin is from the Girl Scouts and the dominant color of green represents all things that are healthy and growing, as well as recycling, long a passion of Eva’s. This tin’s shape, a “book,” is special because Ollie’s such a good reader — no surprise since Eva’s a librarian and was a long-time employee of ours at the bookstore.
All of this encourages me to work on yet another piece for a fundraiser, and to remember that inspiration comes from others’ joy in your work, from the examples one finds elsewhere, from sharing your ideas with others — but mostly from within.