Wire Art Jewelry by Mel: I started making jewelry over 10 years ago, even longer if you count some jewelry I made with my father while I was still in grade school. I am basically self-taught with the experience of working with several great artists and teaching. My degrees are in art and psychology from a small liberal arts college. I moved to California to go to grad school, but never made it. I started creating jewelry as my main source of income there and began working for a company (whose name I cannot legally mention) making jewelry showcases for department stores. So, you may have seen my work without even knowing it, since they did not incorporate the artists names. I moved back near Chicago a few years ago and continue my passion for art, working from a studio in Wheaton.
Plarn is the new yarn (or wool, as us Brits call it.) It’s name comes from combining the words ‘plastic’ and ‘yarn.’ Plarn is made up from folded and shredded plastic bags which are then rolled into a ball and is used as a replacement yarn. It is then crocheted into various items. I’ve seen bags, (like the above) necklaces, ear rings, koozies, cuffs, scourers, coasters and even headbands made from plarn. (Top image: Arny’s Etsy)
Yep, I said necklaces made from plarn. This was one of my favourites from the Arny shop, but if you wanted something a little more low key and less chunky you could opt for something like this:
The Arny shop strapline is; “Giving Earth a second chance.” And after a recent de-clutter and purge of my un-used “stuff” I came across Plastic Bag Mountain in our kitchen.
We have a huge collection of plastic bags and here’s why; we don’t drive otherwise we’d invest in some strong milk cartons which would carry our groceries home, so every time we hit the store, we (read: my husband) forget to pack our ‘Bags For Life’ (a cotton bag that the stores have taken to sell near the cash registers in order to encourage customers to opt out of using plastic bags.) So more plastic bags are used, collected, stored in the tiny kitchen we have and generally they get forgotten about.
I have heard it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break down in a landfill site. Bearing this in mind, I wanted to check this out for myself. There are conflicting studies; some studies suggest that it takes between 10-20 years to break down (The New York Times, Nemve E. Metropolitan Diary, October 1, 2001) and Ohio State University telling us that by adding moisture to a landfill site that it will speed up the decomposition process.
Either way, plastic bags are becoming a growing problem; clogging up drains, being a general eyesore and have even more serious fatal consequences when wildlife mistake plastic bags for food.
In the UK our supermarkets have started to charge it’s customers per bag when they opt for plastic as a way to bring down the usage of plastic bags.
So while I still have Plastic Bag Mountain I will opt to learn to crochet, make plarn and try my hand at plarning myself some necklaces for next Christmas. And thanks to eHow and their step by step “how to” on making plarn I can make my own ball of plarn.
Sharp colors and fascinating shapes.
Unique necklaces to sparkle and glow.
$31 – $73 by Formfire Glassworks.
I love these whimsical fish-inspired necklaces.
Fishbone Silver: I mostly work with pmc and sterling but also throw copper and beads in the mix. I am inspired by nature and the beach community I live in. I have a grown daughter, 5 golden retrievers, 4 horses and 2 donkeys, quite a wonderful zoo!
These juicy pieces make me remember that Spring and Summer follow Winter. There is hope!
Bella Jewels bio: My jewelry is made expressly for the discerning who prefer authentic, expertly crafted everlasting adornments. Not meant to be fleeting trends…but rather to bespeak the beauty….spirit and individual style of the wearer.
Self taught metalsmith with a background (degrees..really, who cares) in apparel design and textiles I have made jewelry designing my full-time professional career for the last twenty five years. The desire to create burns like a fire in my soul (I am not kidding you). I want you to feel the passion resonate in my work.
Because this has been my livelihood for so many years, many of my pieces..if not most, have become signature..especially the gemstone encrusted vine, stem and hoop earrings and the arc necklaces. I have clients reaching back over two decades who continue to collect this style exclusively. I rarely make tasseled adornments anymore, but long flowing thickly tasseled earrings and necklaces were, many years ago, also signature and original.
I was juried in and have shown in the widely known ACC and Rosen craft shows. My work (both wirewrapped and sterling metalwork) has been in the American Museum for Women in D.C…the Baltimore Museum of Art..some smaller, lesser known museums and dozens of galleries throughout the nation.