Chandelier Crystal Jewelry - Salvaged, Repurposed, Upcycled, Sustainable.
Each of my designs is the product of an elaborate, inspired design process, followed by a multi-step and layered craft process; here is a bit about how I do that.
The first step in my process begins with what I like to call the "junk safari". This is the exploring and searching that I do to uncover vintage and discarded chandeliers and harvest their crystals. This includes trips to auctions, estate sales, flea markets, old lamp shops, salvage yards and the occasional dusty barn. Let me tell you, I find some beauties in unexpected places!
After the crystals are back in the studio I wash them in a mild acid bath to remove years of grime and prepare the surfaces to accept images.
The images you see in the crystals are actually enamel fused to the back of the crystals. Putting the image behind the crystal has the effect of viewing the image through the facets. This creates a magical impression of depth and movement as the image and light are reflected. Entrancing!
The enamel process is a technique I have developed myself through years of trial, error and refining. This involves a 1300 degree heat gun, so the line between perfection and a scorched pendant is a matter of seconds!
Book pages and illustrations from antique and vintage books, dictionaries, textbooks, vintage wallpaper and other ephemera are some of my preferred materials to use in my work. I find so many beautiful images in discarded dictionaries and encyclopedias! With information so easily accessible on our devices these wonderful books are no longer valued, but I see them as a treasure and creative inspiration!
In addition to vintage books, I also use handmade, hand printed, sustainable, non-tree paper that I order from several women's co-op's in Nepal and India.
These bohemian block prints are a pleasure to work with, the patterns and textures are delicious; and the color saturation will make you swoon. Most importantly it feels great to use a product that's beautiful, sustainable and socially responsible.
Once the papers are enamel fused to the glass a layer of 18k gold leaf is applied over the paper. The leafing is then oxidized to mellow it from a bright gold to an antiqued tone. Finally, another layer of clear enamel is applied over the leafing to protect everything and ensure years and years of wear.
Some pieces are embellished with gems, crystals or vintage beads. Most pieces are mounted on natural unpolished brass chains and findings. I love the warmth of unpolished brass, such inviting tones and depth of color. Brass also has the benefit of being lead, zinc, and nickel free!
Gemstone, Natural Stone and Healing Crystal Jewelry
In my shop, you will also find pieces made with gems, semi-precious stones, minerals and crystals. I prefer to focus on unusual stones, settings and designs that are simple and focus attention on the wearer and the beauty of the stone.
Looking for something specific? Let me know, I would love to collaborate and make something just for you!
Each Piece of jewelry is created by me in my home studio on Commencement Bay, in Tacoma, Washington. The pacific northwest and the views from my studio windows are a constant source of creative inspiration.