I have a serious obsession with all things vintage--repurposing, remaking, recreating from old stuff that might be discarded or forgotten. Over the last year or so, I've started making some steampunk stuff. A lot of what I make involves loose watch bits that I've picked up, using them to create collages on pendant blanks. It's the kind of itty bitty detail work that I really love, and, when I'm done, I have a unique piece of art. There's no way that I could ever make that exact same piece again.
That's exactly what makes handcrafted, artisan jewelry special. If you have a piece, no one else has it, or can ever have it. It's yours alone. And that's why I do what I do. And I think that's one of the reason why customers buy these pieces.
Recently, I've started exploring using all the parts of a vintage watch--the movement, the casing, the face and even the band sometimes. The workmanship that went into these old wind up watches is amazing, and the movements are incredibly beautiful little masterpieces all on their own. All of the little gears and cogs and bits. . . wow. Some of them are jewelled, too, with little dots of ruby or sapphire. Most of the faces are metal and gorgeous in their own right. The casings and crystals are often banged up a tad, but that gives them a wonderful, unique aged quality. Many of them are plated in 10k gold, and the ladies' watches often have great art deco details.
The other day I picked up a few at a yard sale, and last night I spent the better part of two hours taking them apart and seeing what I had. Here's what I ended up with, along with some seriously shredded thumb nails. Yummy. I can't wait to see what they turn into. As one of my old professors used to say, "Bells are ringing ringing in my head!"