A box of family costume jewelry provides an opportunity for reimagining keepsakes and memories
A dear friend approached me this past holiday season with an inquiry about making some special gifts for her family from her parent’s costume jewelry. After some discussion, we arrived at the idea of repurposing the jewelry into one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments. She handed over a chaotic box filled with necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pins, and other various pieces that she inherited — and I got to work.
And btw, this is my ‘happy place’ — nothing inspires me more than a challenge and crafting.
I began by combing through the assortment of jewelry and mix-matched pieces and parts — and was presented with the conundrum of combining such seemingly unrelated pieces into something of meaning. Like every creative project I take on, there are always moments of clarity intermingled with doubt. Aaaah, the creative process.
My background and expertise in textile design kicked in though, and lead me to organize the jewelry by collection and color. In the end that would help me create 8 unique ornaments. Having a good sense of each recipient’s taste also enabled me to customize each piece according to their sensibilities. My path then became clear. The next challenge was figuring out how to mount the jewelry in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Researching ideas, I came across some small circular wreaths that would become the perfect frame. I painted them to match each theme, then cut, reconfigured, and repurposed the jewelry onto the wreaths. Once I began, it became an overwhelmingly addictive process that I could not put down — I was infusing life into that which had lain dormant.
By the end, I was delighted with the results and I was sure my friend would be as well. After I presented the finished ornaments to her she was overwhelmed with the final product. The joy of seeing her parent’s jewelry adorning the wreaths, rather than hidden away in a box was a big part of what made these pieces so impactful.
Displaying these ornaments every year breathes life and brings a new way to honor and cherish the past while remembering loved ones. I am so excited to make more of these for my family and others as well. Bring on the trinkets!
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