Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim

I was approached by one of my co-workers with a query of "If I brought an old necklace in to you, do you think you could make me a pair of earrings out of the beads?"

Of course I said I could. But when Violet brought her necklace in to show me, I was taken aback: It was absolutely gorgeous! Why on earth would she want me to take something this beautiful apart? It was simply made, with nuts and seeds, on what looked to me like either upholstery or button thread, and used a very simple macramé slide for the closure.

Well, it wasn't her style, and she couldn't see herself wearing it. And although she loved the earrings that had come with the necklace, she'd lost them, and wanted another pair. Here is the necklace, which had been brought back from Brazil by one of her students, as a gift.

I had a very, very difficult time cutting into this necklace. Not that it was physically difficult, it was 'morally' difficult... I held it, studied it, and cast a gratitude spell over the necklace before the dreadful hacking. Now, I know that some of you might be taken aback by the word 'spell', but hear me out. The spell was cast in thanks for the artisan who had poured her/his soul into this piece, probably in an effort to support themselves financially. I thanked the artist for their knowledge, for their skill, and for sending this piece forth, so that I (all the way here in Canada) could study it, and replicate it as best I could, in their honor. I know this sounds weird, and 'new agey' to some of you, but that's the way this witch rolls. ;)

All I can say, is that if I knew that one of my pieces had made itself all the way across the globe, and that the recipient only liked it for the beads, I'd be heartbroken at the thought of all my efforts and skills that had gone into it, and that they were just going to hack it for parts... Have any of you ever given thought to this?

As I mentioned, I studied the piece, wanting to figure out the stitch before I sliced in. I knew straight away that it had been crocheted. Very well I might add. Each side was constructed of 8 crocheted strands, which met at the center, and then were passed through a large Tagua nut.

closeup of the crochet chain

Here we go: It's scissor time!

Keeping a close eye on the construction (or destruction in this case...) of the piece

And here's what I was left with at the end of that ordeal. It took me an entire hour to cut each seed free. I made sure to keep one strand intact, so that I could replicate the tension of the chain. I've given Violet a plethora of choices as far as thread color and hardware goes. She offered to let me keep whatever I didn't use for her earrings, but then I told her that I could certainly make her a bracelet to match, and maybe another, more delicate necklace as well. I might have the Tagua nut left over, LOL!

I'll be sure to photograph the finished pieces. I've already made a pair of earrings, using the dark maroon thread Violet chose. (personally, I prefer the look of the seeds against the maroon thread, the red was a tad too vibrant for my liking)


I was going to say those would be big honkin' earrings - then I saw the picture and they are big honkin' earrings. I am with you I would have left it alone, the necklace looked nice the way it was.
Not Ashley said…
Hope Violet is pleased with the result. It's too bad she didn't like the original, as it was lovely.

As I was scrolling down the page, the giant 4 foot owl in orange caught my eye, and I'd hoped you'd found a picture of it. Lol!
Gnat of Glass said…
How heavy are those? I like the way they look a lot, but have no idea what the human ear can hold and not start to get a strechy hole....good lord that sounded bad.

Jewels said…
Phos, you're here too?!? ;)

They are honkin', but they look SOOOO good! I tried to convince her to leave it alone, even brought it back to her, had her try it on, and look at it with different eyes, but no dice. She wanted something else... Bummer.

Maria, from your mouth to Goddess' ears! ;) So far so good, she liked the earrings very much, but would like a shorter pair as well, if there are enough beads left over. I am so going to photograph the little one my dad still has at his place. It's funny, 'cause it's still hanging where my mom hung it up, almost 20 years after their DIVORCE!!! LMAO!

Oh Gnat, LMFAO!!!!
They're very, very light. I wouldn't dare make something this long with, say, glass beads, or even pearls, but the seeds are quite light, they don't even pull on the hole, LoL!!! (Mine might look a tad stretched in the photo, but that's only because in a moment of sheer stupidity, I had once considered wearing 'stretchers', and got to a 10 gauge, I believe, when I finally got a lucid moment, and pulled them out. The hole won't stretch back in, but at least I won't look like those freaks walking around with super duper flappy earlobes... LMAO!)
Jewels said…
My bad, you can't see my lobe in that photo... ;)
Ace said…
I think of it this way: The craftsman/woman who put his/her spirit into the creation might be happy to know that, instead of being neglected and unworn, her work was carefully and lovingly reshaped by another craftswoman into something that truly delighted the owner. So that his/her love of the beads was not for naught. Because a necklace unworn and unloved, now matter how beautiful, is sad. But thanks to you, that unworn, unloved and sad work has become a series of worn, loved and joyous work.
Gnat of Glass said…
Wow ace, that was pretty damn insightful.

Jewels, I have a friend that is going to have a floppy hole somewhere else if he keeps upping his gage....

LJ said…
Whoa Momma! Now THOSE are earrings!
Always inspiring to come here, Jewels. Your work is breathtaking. And of course, I absolutely admire your obsessive streak, too!
Yeah, better then languishing on the shelf at your local Pier One. At least someone is enjoying it.

Still you have to wonder whose nuts they are...
Jewels must be off beading somewhere...

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