I used to be a ...
Find out the story behind your handmade piece of jewellery from Paper2pearls. Click on the buttons to go and see more in my shop.
My origami book jewellery truly is something different due to the range of books I offer which means that there is something to suit everyone.
Making my book jewellery is a time intensive process over several days - not including finding suitable old and tattered copies of the books I want to use. From preparing the paper before cutting and folding it, to folding, assembling and then varnishing the completed pieces (each piece gets several coats of waterproof varnish) the typical piece takes 3 to 4 days to complete.
Unless otherwise mentioned all earrings come on sterling silver findings including my handmade earring hooks.
Pieces of book jewellery are grouped together by author or genres.
I source vintage sheet music from a variery of sources including music publishers who sell this off rather than send it to be pulped. In general the music used is chosen at random but mt Christmas pieces are made using paper from a well used vintage copy of The Messiah.
The processes involved and the time taken to make these pieces is the same as for my book jewellery.
Making these pieces of jewellery is a drawnout process as well as a very dusty one! I start by cutting out and layering up 30 to 40 piece of paper which I then leave to dry which typically takes two or even three days to dry thoroughly. I shape and sand the paper stack until I'm satisfied with how it looks and then varnish it.
It's not until the first coat of varnish goes on that I have any idea about how the finished piece will look and whether it's successful.
I make these pieces using paper from old magazines as well as parcel and packaging paper (including the kind that comes from a very well known online company).
The joy of these pieces is that even the largest pendants are very light weight and the care I take in making and finishing them ensures their durability.
We are surrounded by plastic and so much is single use. I enjoy a G&T of an evening and each week I have about three empty bottles of tonic water to put in my recycling bin. This led me to wonder if another use could be made of them and the same thinking applied to all the plastic bags and bubblewrap which can't always be recycled.
To make these pieces I cut, colour and heat the plastic though not necessarily in that order. The results are always individual and different with an element of uncertainty about how they will turn out but I always find it intensely satisfying to transform something which would normally just be thrown away to something which can be worn and enjoyed.
I often combine these plastic components with other elements from my stash including beads I have been gifted in order to create a really unique piece of jewellery.
Charity shops are full of old DVDs that nobody wants and most of us have old dusty DVDs tucked away somewhere that will never go to watch again. In the past I've used them as birds scare with my vegetable beds but I then began to wonder if there was another use that could be made of them.
Carefully using a combination of heat and a sharp knife to separate out the layers I then cut them to the shape that I need and add any finishing touches, these touches may be drawn on, I may add extra colour or add detail with beads and crystals.
Jewel beetles come from Thailand where they are a valuable part of the ecosystem spending 2 to 3 years as larvae living amongst the rotting leaves and would on the forest floor before hatching out into the final form as beetles for a short time before they die. They are a traditional food source and the hundreds of years the wings have been used in jewellery and also to adorn clothing.
Today their importance to the ecosystem is valued and so farmers no longer viewed them as a pest and some farmers encourage them to breed and the wings are collected after the beetles have died naturally at the end of their life-cycle and are sold at an additional income for the villagers and farmers.
The colours are completely natural and while the majority are mainly emerald green with hints of blue other colours are also available although these are rarer.
I buy my beetle wings direct from Thailand.
I love the scent of roses and have several highly perfumed organically grown varieties in my garden. Looking for ways to preserve their scent and use the petals I discovered rose petal beads, the history of which dates back to mediaeval times. Originally they were made by Roman Catholic nuns to produce the prayer beads which they gave their name – rosaries.
I make my rose beads in the same traditional manner although I use a food processor to prepare my pulp rather than a traditional pesto and mortar stop I do not add any additional sent to the beads so they are entirely natural stop if they lose their sent over time it is easy to revive this the drop of two of rose essential oil and an alternative to expensive pure rose oil is rose geranium.
One thing to remember with these beads is to keep them dry as if they get wet they will turn back to pulp.
As a gardener I've become fascinated by the beauty of snail shells especially either the banded variety (which don't eat your plants) and the tiny flat snails (which do). The shells of these tiny snails in particular are incredibly delicate and perfectly formed spirals with an almost translucent quality which I enhance with varnish to give them a look reminiscent of porcelain or bone china.
All the shells I use are empty ones collected from my garden. Names are incredibly important and my garden shell pieces are a good example of this. Jewellery made from seashells is becoming increasingly popular so why not make pieces using garden shells instead? After all as William Shakespeare himself wrote...
"... A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."