I’m a huge fan of recycling, or upcycling or whatever the in-term is at the moment. There’s something so satisfying about transforming old, abandoned, scruffy, broken items into loved, treasured and beautiful things. My kids are terribly embarrassed by their magpie mother, if I walk down a street I always keep a close eye out for sparkly things – whether that be pop can tabs which can be spray painted and daubed with nail varnish to make bracelets, odd earrings, scattered beads from snapped necklaces, nuts, bolts, washers, straggly ribbon blown by the wind and caught in spiky bushes….anything really. I’ll often go into a shop and fish out the change in my pocket, only to find the spare change is outnumbered by small metal objects that can in no way be exchanged for a can of pop or a pint of milk.
Here’s a few things I treasure, all found objects. Laugh if you must, maybe it’s not normal.
Maybe it’s the remains of the ‘Hunter/Gatherer’ instinct. The same reason why it’s so therapeautic to spend hours picking masses of blackberries from hedgerows, when you could easily just bob down to the grocers and buy a box of them for not very much money and save yourself the trouble of purple stained clothes and thorns embedded in fingertips. I could just buy supplies from craft shops, or simply spend a couple of quid on pre-made jewellery from shops, but there’s no challenge in that. Besides, I can make things that I can actually see in my mind’s eye, and they’re unique.
If you’re willing to invest a bit of time pulling things in pieces you can find all manner of things too. I had so much fun disembowelling a bedside clock a while ago. It was broken and ugly so I didn’t feel guilty ripping it in bits. After messing around with a screwdriver, ripping off the facade and rooting around amongst the innards, I found all these gorgeous little things.
It’s just so much fun, and so fascinating to see what you can do with something and nothing. My dad used to play a game where he’d draw a squiggle on a piece of paper, then my sister and I would take turns trying to make little pictures out of them. That’s all I do with metal and wire really. I just pick something up, look at it, turn it round, put it on something else, attach it, embellish it somehow and then it becomes something else entirely. Make no mistake, this doesn’t always work. I’ve made some monstrosities in my time. I tried to make a german shepherd out of wire once, and it ended up looking like a weird dog wearing baggy pants, a friend said that it looked like a canine MC Hammer. Here it is for your amusement and my embarrassment….
Anyway, I digress. This is just an example of how doodling with metal can be fun. It doesn’t always come naturally to me, but because I love it, so I persist, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
The point is, from just a piece of wire, or an abandoned bit of tatt, you can come up with all sorts of things. Silver or gold, or expensive materials are things of beauty, you can’t deny that….but I’m actually proud of the lowly roots that make up many of my creations. I’ll proudly boast that something is made from a broken hair clip and feel absolutely no shame about it at all.
Life’s about making things up as you go along, or at least it is for me. You find the sparkle on the pavement, the simple little things that make up a day and turn them into something good and worthwhile. That’s the idea anyway.