Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Semi-precious: unexpected adornment

A significant portion of my youth was mispent in found accessories. Some of it was pretty bad: Plastic spider rings, rubber rats (the cat toy type) safety pinned to my jacket, dog chains as necklaces.

But there were some good efforts, as well. The 1980s brought wristsful of black rubber bracelets (“Madonna bracelets”) and cheery friendship pins — the DIY project that involved threading seed beads onto safety pins and then wearing them like metalic tassles from one’s shoelaces.

My personal tastes were a little more obscure: I’d comb thrift stores for intersting bits of castoff jewelry. Earrings without matches, random brooches, anything shiny that could be strung on a chord for a necklace. Recently, while reading the excellent and inspiring blog The Uniform Project, I came across a photo of blogger Sheena wearing an antique beaded purse as a necklace (below). Brilliant. And far smarter than I ever was, with my rhinestone bits and pieces. But still, the idea shares a genesis: Take something lovely if impractical/unusable and repurpose it as decoration.

With that in mind, I plan to go through my jewelry box and look at all the odds and ends with a new eye. Necklaces to be worn as bracelets or hat bands, skeleton keys as amulets, broken lockets strung like charms on a chain.

And who knows, maybe friendship pins will make a comeback this year, too!

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