The appeal of jewelry created with found objects is immediate: found-object jewelry is incredibly unique—and often a piece is one of a kind—plus, it’s exciting to imagine the backstories behind the upcycled objects featured in the jewelry. Here, we feature three talented jewelers who take inspiration from found objects.
Riberyon, designed by Jacques-Elie Ribeyron, features pieces inspired by hardware and industrial objects as well as the art of John Chamberlain, an American sculptor who created pieces with the scrap metal of old automobiles.
The New York Times describes the latest collection as “a deconstructed take on familiar, everyday objects.” The F/W 16 collection includes hardware-store plumbing clamps reinterpreted as 18k-gold and rhodium screw bracelets and helmet bags remade with into clutches with industrial mesh.
This creative collection is intended for both men and women, and no piece is denoted for a particular gender: “I do not want to dictate that one piece is for boys and the other for a girl,” Ribeyron says. “I really feel people should wear what they are comfortable with, and I appreciate the diversity it creates.”
Ribeyron’s process is largely defined by speed. The former product-designer-turned-jeweler finds that the ability to quickly design a piece of jewelry keeps him from getting bored: “With product design, the function is important, but it can block many ideas. The good thing about fashion is it’s very quick; it’s not like designing a table or couch. It’s good not to overthink things. Now it’s about developing things very fast.”
Alice Sprintzen Studio
Alice Sprintzen of Alice Sprintzen Studio creates beautiful statement necklaces with found objects from everyday life. The Long Island-based artist espouses an eco-friendly stance on jewelry-making: “Jewelry is, by implication, pro-reuse and anti-consumption. It elevates ordinary materials to diamond status—at least, that's the challenge,” she told Jewelry Span.
The special history of repurposed items offers unique value to her pieces: “Found materials have often ignored qualities and a past life that can be brought to light when they are juxtaposed with other materials and used in a new context,” she explains.
Sprintzen initially got into the art of creating jewelry from found objects when she placed a small domino in a stone setting. From that point on, any object was fair game. Now, the artist’s friends bring her small baggies of bits and pieces they’ve found, and she creates one-of-a-kind jewelry with them, giving the found materials a new life.
To learn more about Sprintzen’s process, check out her book: The Jeweler’s Art: A Multimedia Approach.
Studio 410—Susan Richards
Susan Richards of Studio 410 creates jewelry with found objects including old silver spoons, beach stones, and vintage beads, often sourcing her materials from second-hand shops and even the beaches of Hawaii where she found some very old barbed wire.
Like Sprintzen, Richards is inspired by finding new uses for common objects: “As long as I can remember, I have always loved to take objects and turn them into something other than what they were intended for.”
When creating designs with silver, Richards often oxidizes the material to enhance details of the design.
Photos: Ribeyron, Alice Sprintzen Studio, Susan Richards
Put your creative side to use with eco-friendly gift wrapping.
Opting for eco-friendly gift wrapping is a beautiful way to honor Mother Earth--and show off your creative talents. The following are only a few options for green giving. There are so many ways to adorn your gifts in conscious style. Simply use your imagination--How can old containers be repurposed and made pretty? Also, when necessary, seek out earth-conscious companies that produce fine papers made from recycled and sustainable materials.
1.Wrap Gifts with Fabric
Save scraps of cloth from sewing projects or head down to your local sewing or craft store and pick out some festive prints. Cloth is a gift itself because it can be repurposed a number of ways. It can be turned into pieces for a quilt, part of a reusable shopping bag, napkins, or even a rag!
2. Gift with Reusable Shopping Bags
While we're on the topic of reusable shopping bags, why not share gifts in a decorative reusable shopping bag or cloth tote (again, another gift itself)? If you're efficient with a sewing machine, totes are pretty easy to whip up. You can choose from a variety of patterns here.
3. Decorate Gift Packages with Backyard Findings
Explore the great outdoors (or just your backyard) in search of pretty, natural findings to decorate your gifts. Delicate twigs, small pinecones, and sprigs of holly and berries make eye-catching additions.
4. Go Black and White and Re(use)d All Over
Newspapers and magazines make playful and inexpensive green wrapping options. Simply find a visually interesting page (the comics section is always a good choice), layer over another piece of newspaper (since newspaper tends to tear easily), and go to town! Tie off with yarn, ribbon, or baker's twine.
5. Seek Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Paper Printed with Soy Ink
This cute paper by the Green Field Paper company is made from 100% recycled materials and printed with soy ink. Soy inks are a smart green option because but they only release a minimal amount of volatile organic compounds into our atmosphere during the printing process. Soy is also a renewable resource while petroleum, the base of most conventional ink, is nonrenewable—and not very friendly to the atmosphere. Soy ink comes in vivid, long-lasting colors, and paper companies may not need to use as much ink to produce stunning graphics (like these adorable dogs!).
6. Use Banana Fiber Paper
Banana fiber is created with stems leftover from a banana harvest. The paper has an organic texture that lends it an earthy yet sophisticated feel. Perfect for understated (but high-impact) gift wrapping.
7. Get Adventurous with Old Maps
Save your old atlases for some fun gift wrapping. While any page will make for interesting packaging, consider the recipient of your gift--Where have you travelled together? Where is she originally from? Choose your map paper accordingly for extra thoughtful wrapping :)