I came upon Altered Curiosities by accident. It’s not the kind of book I would usually buy. But boy, I am so glad this book made it to my door. Don’t pass it by like I almost did. It’s packed with information on all kinds of crafts that seemingly bear no relation to one another. Yet author Jane Ann Wynn pulls them all together, with unconventional materials, and makes art. I didn’t try any of her projects, but I read through the book more than once and am taking inspiration from it for my own work.
For example, I love the look of rust (but not on my appliances, please! ) and patinas. I picked up a rusty washer on the street the other day and struck up a conversation with it. When I was finished, I had this pendant. I added a silver plated spoon hammered flat, gold filled wire, turquoise and copper. I think that Altered Curiosities got me thinking in a new way.
While running errands today, I found all these cool rusty bits on the sidewalk. These are going to end up in something. I’ll wait for them to talk to me first, like the washer did.
If any of this appeals to you, check out the art of Annette Tacconelli’s Urban Artifacts. If little washers talk to me, bridges and pieces of buildings talk to her. Not only is her art beautiful and hard to forget; it will stoke your creative juices even more.
This necklace is made from part of another one of my Grandmother’s silverplated spoons. After I made the bracelet I showed in an earlier post, I decided to try something new. The cabochon is polymer. The spoon is dapped, pierced, and patinated. The cab is held in place with gold filled wire. The pendant is strung on rubber cord and finished with Balinese style vermeil spacers and a vermeil clasp. I am exploring more ways to make jewelry from spoons and found objects. I will post the more interesting results.
I wanted to make a meaningful Christmas present for a younger family member. My mother had given me my Grandmother’s silver plate and said that it would be OK if I made jewelry out of it. I took two teaspoons and heated them until they were cherry red with my lamp working torch. After letting them cool, I clamped them into a vise and sawed off the handles with my jeweler’s saw. I filed off the rough edges and drilled holes in both ends of each handle. I shaped the pieces with a rubber covered mallet and a form made to hammer out dents in cars. Then I threw the handles in the pickle pot to clean off most of the fire scale. Next, I used a wire brush attachment in my drill to clean off the rest of the dirt and shine them up. I filed around the rough edges of the holes I’d drilled and went over the handles with steel wool before polishing them with muslin buffing wheel and rouge.
I assembled the pieces with jump rings I’d made previously, and a lobster clasp. When I don’t solder jump rings, I like to make them oval shaped with the cut on the side because they are stronger and less likely to pull apart which is important for a bracelet. I was going to put a lamp-worked bead dangle on the front with a wrapped loop. I ended up using the dangle you see in the picture-an odd earring belonging to my mother.
I have a full set of my Grandmother’s silver plate and a ton of ideas for using it to make jewelry. What about a ring or bracelet for my maternal girl cousins? That’s a thought. It would be a good way to share the silver plate with the family.
Yesterday, my Mother was telling me about the wonderful Christmas dinners my Grandmother cooked years ago. I imagine they enjoyed more than one with the spoons I used on this bracelet. I never knew my Grandmother. The picture of her below must have been taken when she was 16 or so, which would make it circa 1900.
Emma Peterson Montgomery