I’ve worked in a lot of different arts & crafts media over the years, and today I thought I’d write about how I got started in jewelry-making. I loved the idea of making the perfect pieces of jewelry, in my favorite colors and with attached charms filled with personal meaning. And since I can only wear so much jewelry, it seemed like a great idea to make even more pieces to sell to all the people out there who share the same fun aesthetic as me.
When my aunt offered to teach me basic jewelry-making, I jumped at the chance. She helped me pick out my first tools and encouraged me to buy strands of colorful and fancy beads. Strands and strands of beads. Lots and lots and lots of beads.
Later, when I was looking over my burgeoning collection of beads, I realized a couple things. I actually don’t wear that many beaded necklaces and earrings. And beaded jewelry was the most common thing I was seeing at arts & crafts fairs. After I’d check out the beaded necklaces and bracelets in a couple vendor booths, I’d find that everything started to look the same. If I wanted to make jewelry that I would enjoy wearing and might have a reasonable chance of selling, I needed to take a new approach and find a look no one else had.
Then one day at a local craft show, in a booth full of pins and necklaces made from forged metal and vintage tin cans, I happened to notice a single pair of earrings, made from two tiny white buttons and silver wire (and priced outrageously high, considering how small and plain they were). I looked at those earrings, and it occurred to me that buttons would be a unique alternative to beads. Other than this one pair of earrings, I’d never seen anyone actually wearing or selling jewelry made from buttons. And if I used vintage buttons, my jewelry would have a special appeal to people who, like me, are interested in upcycled crafts with a retro look.
So that’s what got me started working with vintage buttons. I still use the occasional bead as an accent, but the button jewelry I make has a distinctive look that reflects my own unique way of looking at the world.
If you’d like to see more of my work, check out my Etsy shop at www.WaywardArts.etsy.com!