Are you drooling yet?
It doesn't matter if you like vintage jewelry or not. These days many people are into recycling, upcycling, redesigning, and taking apart old pieces to make something else. I've done plenty of it myself!
I first got interested in the assemblage or collage art form many years ago, several years after I started picking and selling vintage jewelry. There were always broken pieces to throw back, and I saw photos of things people were making from broken jewelry. There were articles in VICTORIA magazine, one of my favorites! about memory jewelry and recreating wearable things from bits of the past.
And then.....one of my vintage customers told me about Wendy Gell. When I first saw Wendy's jewelry, I was mesmerized. She happened to be in just the right place, just the right time in history for her collaged 'wristies" and funky big brooches to make it big in the fashion design business.
This is a custom bridal wristy made by Wendy Gell. Beautiful work! Totally unique to the world of jewelry design when she began decades ago, nowadays we see work like this all the time on the internet. Wendy Gell is not the first assemblage jewelry artist to walk this earth, but she IS, for me, the beginning of art jewelry collage in this style, in more modern times. If it weren't for Wendy, many of us probably would still be making tree collages out of Gramma's old earrings. She got the world to pay attention and made assemblage jewelry high fashion! Wendy Gell's jewelry appeared in Vogue and on the Vogue cover numerous times.
There are pieces of Wendy Gell's work in the Smithsonian. They are considered part of pop culture.
AMAZING! And then....there is the other Wendy, Wendy Baker:
Wendy Baker is a responsible repurposer. She creates most of her vintage flower jewelry from vintage parts, not pieces that have been broken down. Her work is bold and inspirational, and much of her work is done with cold connections like wire and jump rings, rather than glue. I love her work and I love Wendy. I'd love to spend a day creating with her. We've both got it on our bucket lists!
What does it mean to be a responsible repurposer?
I used to write for a leading vintage jewelry publication, in fact I did so for eight years. I had my own column. At the end of my articles, I would always sign off with, "May the jools of your dreams land in your lap and only cost you five bucks!"
Hey, we all want to find stuff to work with and make money without having to fork over a lot! For many the latest flea market has become another sort of crafts store. It's a great place to find bags of busted stuff, bits of this and that for jewelry making! And pretty pieces of old jewelry. Yard, tag and estate sales are another brilliant resource for those things.
But just because the items were cheap, missing stones or needing a great cleaning, or are just OLD, does not mean they should automatically be fodder for your next jewelry creation. Is a new stash of vintage jewelry your new artistic playground?
It could be! It also might be the source of a new income stream that will get you far more money than randomly taking pieces and breaking them down for parts.
AND THAT is what RESPONSIBLE REPURPOSING 101 is all about. Wouldn't you like to learn to identify pieces that may have great value? Don't think you won't find any! It happens all the time! Sometimes all you need is a few minutes on the internet to learn about your piece, get it ready to sell, and find a buyer. There are avid collectors of the old pieces who are willing to pay good money for what you find! In many cases, they may pay you more money than you would make cabbaging parts and making new assemblage pieces.
Who doesn't need money for good tools, storage equipment, a show tent, supplies, adequate branding for their artisan lines? Who couldn't use a few extra bucks to supplement family income? I assure you: You CAN get it this way. This is an adventure in learning that you definitely want to be serious about, and a journey you want to take.
I know because I did it.
This is exactly how a poor young mother was able to trade a tiny mobile home for a modest house, and buy a decent car instead of enduring a very old one that broke down all the time.
It is how she bought diapers for her baby boy, got him to the doctor for his well baby visits. It's how she bought him school clothes, and how she put braces on his teeth.
How she helped him get his first car and into college.
It is also how she built a business that gave her a sense of value and purpose. Everything that she parlayed into a career as a jewelry designer came from the money she made from learning about vintage jewelry and finding buyers for it. B'sue Boutiques as you know it today would not be here if learning to make money from vintage jewelry hadn't happened, first.
In Responsible Repurposing 101 you will learn:
---How to train yourself to first look at vintage jewelry for value and condition, rather than immediately think of how you would remake or take down the piece for parts.
---how to separate, or triage, a box of old jewelry for value as well as parts good for repurposing.
---You will be learning how to be careful to dispose of tags on old jewelry that is good for repurposing, not use parts of a design that include a logo, be aware of possible lead content and allergens in old pieces, especially old metal and chains.
---You'll learn about names and marks and will be given resources for researching them. We'll talk about what is very popular among today's collectors, and how the vintage jewelry trade is just as trendy as the fashion business.....because it remains to this day, part of the fashion business.
---What to do if a piece is substantial but unmarked.
---You will learn how to circa-date jewelry ( get the approximate age and design style of the piece).
---There will be a discussion of OLD PLASTICS, OLD METALS.....and, a bit about OLD BUTTONS!
---You will learn what to look for in NEW designer names. There are some that already have value on the secondary market, and others that soon will.
---You will learn how to establish a value according to current trend and price that piece to SELL!
---You will learn how to find and continue to find vintage jewelry.....and how to find BUYERS for it.
---You will learn about starting a small collection of your own.
---We will discuss the INSPIRATION FACTOR: what we can learn from designers that have gone before us.
---We'll talk about repurposing heirlooms into more wearable designs without damaging them...and also what to do when someone comes to us wanting us to alter an old piece that they possess but is very valuable.
That's just the tip of the iceberg!
We will also talk about potential value in unusual unsigned things we find along the way. This pendant was made by a local woodworker. It is like a miniature doll house under plexiglass. I bought it for about 50 cents.
I sold it for 50.00.....to someone who collects miniature work.
The class will last 4-6 weeks, depending on what students need. If we can cover all this territory in a month, then we will. If there is more to say and students still have questions and want to listen, I won't rush them off.
We will conduct the class at FACEBOOK in a private group made just for this purpose, the same way as the Build A Line Challenge class is held each year. The class is NOT project-driven. It will be structured discussion and you will have modules that you can print out for your own use, and put in a folder. There are NO BLOG HOPS, NO DEADLINES, NO REQUIREMENTS. You can come to class every day, or every few days and just scroll back and catch up with the discussion. You will be invited to post photos of things you have found, and would like to talk about. The class, being on Facebook, will not be held in real time, but you know how it is on Facebook! Our groups are chatty, and I expect the discussion to be brisk.
There is no application process for this class. First come, first served. I will accept up to 40 for the class group plus our admins who are already there, waiting for you. ;-) The classroom has already been "built". As soon as payments are received, you will be asked to 'friend' me at Facebook, if you haven't already. That way I can place you in the class.
The class fee is 80.00 and worth every dime. It will be an eye-opener and turn you into a jewelry detective! And if you put the advice given into play, you will have much more cash in your pocket to get the things you really want to develop your jewelry design business.
Sign ups will begin Wednesday June 1. You can private message me at Facebook for a PayPal invoice, or call us at 1-800-868-4393 to make a payment by credit card. No payments will be accepted until June 1.
Class will begin on Monday, June 13, and will begin to wrap up around the third week of July. As mentioned, I won't be in a hurry to rush you off. If the class needs another week or two, they shall have it.
I can't wait to share the secrets of Responsible Repurposing with you! The things you learn will not only help your bottom line, but they will INSPIRE YOU as you learn new ways to view vintage design.