>Up-Cycle with Recycled Materials

9 Jan


 “Up-Cycling”- it’s a term that I like to use to describe a new or up-scale version of an item that is being recycled.  If something is recycled  in part or in whole, the entire green concept of recycling is smart for our environment, our mind-set and our wallets.  I have been asked  and entrusted to stretch my imagination and up-cycle many projects for customers.  A new level of aesthetics can be produced and appreciated at the same time any memories or ideas associated with the original item are recognized in the new creation.
Whenever I embark on an up-cycle project, I am sure to take a before and after photograph of the original item. By doing so, I am documenting the historical importance of the original item design and provide evidence of a new design with new age functions or style.

Photo A. Initial necklace to deconstruct.

An example of an up-cycled project I took on that was especially interesting and meaningful was one that involved a necklace that was also a family heirloom.  It belonged to the great-grandmother of a customer’s husband.  The assignment was to take apart the necklace and recycle the components to create four new items from the initial single item.  To make that possible, I had to add additional beads and findings and I needed to match up closely anything that I wanted to add for the sake of cohesion. Photo A. is the initial heirloom necklace.  I completed the task by designing  two necklaces, a bracelet and a pair of earrings, all of which included some part of the original item. 

Photo B, up-cycle necklace & bracelet.

 I happened to be able to match the up almost perfectly the smaller white marble effect beads to add as spacer beads.  Because the original beads were marble, they were very heavy and this necklace weighed a lot for something that was to be around your neck at any given time. Never-the-less, the filler beads that I matched up were more light weight and still had the same look and feel as the marble beads so they mixed well with them and coordinated the entire style. In photo B you see one up cycled necklace creation and a bracelet.

After the completion of the project, I learned more details about the original necklace by way of a thank you note.  It seems that the necklace had particular

sediments associated with it for numerous family members.  Apparently, once a year, as the family would spend time at a cabin with Great-Grandma, she would lend this necklace to the little girls who were in the family and they would take turns and proudly walk around and model it during their playtime visits.  When their beloved passed away, the necklace was then brought to me to deconstruct and then reconstruct to be shared with all of the girls in the family that had the chance to wear the necklace during those special cabin visits from their childhood.

Photo C. up-cycled necklace & earrings.

It was an added plus to learn so many details and sediments associated with this project.   One of the gifts was given for a specific birthday, a daughter’s twenty first birthday. I think that was the most memorable experiences I have had so far in a reconstruction project.  Everyone was happy with the results and everyone was left with a great tangible memory of their relative and time spent with them.  Can art make a difference in your life?  YOU BET!  This is proof!
Rummage through your jewelry box and find something that is broken or no longer worn.  Up-cycle it into something new and pleasing to wear once again.
If that is not possible for you to do- contact me, I may be able to help you!



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