Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Salvaging Sustainability - Recycled Visions

Featured Artist Amy Pfaffman

When you think of jewelry designs, you might think of pearls, silver and gold, beads and chain. When you think of 'found object' jewelry, you might conjure mental images of game pieces, skeleton keys and ceramic doll components, all of which can make interesting and unique wearable jewelry art.

But if you observe the world in an even more unique way, you could also see jewelry design opportunities in wooden rulers, computer resistors and pieces of regular No. 2 pencils.

Especially if you are Amy Pfaffman, who sees jewelry design options everywhere in the world all around her, and maintains an ethic toward recycled, sustainable and salvaged items for her jewelry inspirations.

Amy creates beautiful, distinctive and unique jewelry, with the intention to use materials in a way that recycles, salvages or makes and maintains a positive impact on the environment.

Making jewelry since 1996, her work reflects her love for functional objects and a wonderful balance and sense of design. She believes in the iconic power of the object, reasserted in a new incarnation as decorative object.

Using cold connections with sterling silver, she converts the ordinary into an ornament. Nothing is out of bounds, including guitar picks, toothbrush handles and wooden chopsticks. Would you recognize the objects in the photo on the right as sections of colorful toothbrush handles, converted into a necklace?

Based out of California, her emphasis is on recycled or sustainable materials for jewelry designs, and her work is featured here in Saint Louis at the Saint Louis Art Museum and in Kansas City, Missouri at Temple Slug. You can find a gallery listing in your area on her website.

Her jewelry art designs also have a tremendously humorous sense of fun, as she uses slices of colored pencils, pieces cut from aluminum knitting needles and groups of test tubes to create visually colorful, lovely and stimulating jewelry designs.

She takes ordinary materials and transforms them, by cutting them into smaller pieces or reorganizing them to disguise their original functions, and creates gems from everyday objects like resistors and teddy bear eyes.

Taking everyday materials, like coffee beans and alphabet pasta, she makes molds with them and casts their shapes in sterling silver to create beads that convey the original purpose of the object but converts them to lasting objects that have a different purpose. See the organic and streamlined shape of a coffee bean in the earrings in the photo to the right?

So as you walk around the house or around the block, keep your eyes and mind open to design ideas and look at things in a whole new way.

Go to Amy's website for additional information and inspiration, check out her work, you won't believe your eyes! (photos from her website at amyjewelry.com - photo credits Jack Gescheidt)

Here's a follow up question for you, if you want to post a reply or comment - what's the most unusual item you have used in your jewelry designs?

No comments: