Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm filling it with things; like furniture that I find on the street, all the special things I like to eat, pictures of people that I'd like to meet.

Well, now that I've rambled on about my day yesterday I suppose I should get around to that picture and link-filled post I promised two days ago. I'll start with a little about myself.
This is me. I'm currently 22 years old but I have gotten into the habit of saying I'm 23 since I have a birthday coming up in a few months. For once in my life I am actually ahead of the game when it comes to realizing what age I am. Usually I am the type to say what age I was before my birthday for at least six months after the date has passed. I currently work as a cashier in a convenience store in my tiny hometown and I am quite content with the job. I've been working customer service since I was 15 years old and retail has been the bulk of that career. I've held jobs in clothing stores, accessory stores, and even beauty product stores and as a result have quite the eye for fads and a very developed sense of style. Working in all of those areas of the fashion field has given me what I lacked in high school; a clear idea of what aesthetic appeals to me. In high school I dabbled in goth, hippie, and Japanese lolita fashions but never quite felt fully connected to any of those styles. I knew what I didn't like; the name-brand hoodie and jean or sweatpant looks of my classmates, but I couldn't find exactly what I liked and what suited me. Working in clothing stores taught me about new styles of clothing and what cuts flattered my body type. Working in a hair and beauty environment taught me about make-up and haircare and helped refine the sense of style that I was starting to show. Working at an accessory store, though not the most pleasant experience, showed me that accessories can sometimes make the outfit and to appreciate the accessories that people wear because often they have the most thought put into their selection. The accessory store also reawakened a semi-dormant passion of mine; jewelry making. 

When I think about it I actually started making jewelry when I was a child. The aisle of the local department store with the kid's crafts and beads and friendship bracelet kits was always my favorite. In middle school I discovered that I had inherited my mother's allergy to metals and I began making necklaces and bracelets out of hemp cord (a medium my friends Holly and Tara had been using for a while) to go with my outfits as a way of bypassing the allergy. I remember one year I designed a special hemp necklace or bracelet for each of my friends for Christmas using their favorite colors or beads and charms that reminded me of them. Towards the end of high school a friend got me into the Kandi kid scene and I started making jewelry out of those bright plastic beads I loved as a child, a tradition I continue each year for the rave at the local anime convention Tekkoshocon
Kandi set made for and modeled by a friend.

After graduation I discovered that my metal allergy was less severe than it had been throughout my adolescence but I didn't dive straight into the world of jewelry, I was still a bit wary of those waters until I got a gift that changed my mind. Two years ago for Christmas my friend Holly (one of the co-founders of this here project) made all of her friends jewelry as gifts. She carried it in in an old tin and I was taken from the moment she lifted the lid. Within was an assortment of mixed metal statement pieces that were a perfect representation of her talent and creativity that it was obvious she had lovingly handmade each one. I knew which piece was mine as soon as I saw it and would be seen wearing it regularly for the next few months.
Me wearing the necklace from Holly on my couch with Becca.

I loved the necklace so much that I wanted to emulate it so I began to go to craft stores and look for charms and chains that I could use to make my own designs. Pieces from that time were heavily influenced by current trends within craft stores, like faux-vintage prints, maps, and Alice in Wonderland.
 A necklace I created to wear to a gig featuring The Bigger Lights.
Unfortunately, the hazardous road conditions caused a minor accident which broke the piece. I have since reworked the charms into several other pieces.

A necklace I designed to wear to Tekkoshocon featuring the White Rabbit and a tiny dangling teapot.

After piecing together jewelry of pre-made charms for a while I began to long for a way to really put myself into the jewelry I was making. I wanted my pieces to be more than jewelry, I wanted them to be wearable art. The only problem was I was not much of an artist. Crafting, sewing, and writing were about the only creative things I was capable of. When it comes to holding a paintbrush or a pencil I was about as talented as a toddler. Then one day I found a deep-welled bezel pendant with a coordinating clear acrylic dome. I melted some metallic plastic into the bezel, added an image transferred onto a clear sheet of plastic and the acrylic dome and a stood back to enjoy the first wearable art charm I had made. Although pictures of that first charm are lost, I kept making more through the same or similar processes.

 A choker and bracelet made for my coworkers featuring silhouettes of butterflies and flowers.

 A fleur-de-lis on a mosaic-tiled background made for a friend.

 A present for my mother's 50th birthday. Strung on velvet ribbon and coated with clear nail polish as to not aggravate her allergy.

 Pieces made for a friend's wedding. A monogram pendant for the bride and a necklace for myself to wear to the wedding as I had no jewelry that went well with my dress.

A monogram pendant featuring rhinestones and stickers set in resin for the daughter of a coworker with a store-bought charm.

More recently I have been enhancing my handmade charms with coordinating beads, crystals, pearls, and charms but a bout of carpal tunnel syndrome has rendered me unable to take decent photos of them or make as many as I would like. I do; however, have a picture of a work in progress to share with you.

W.I.P tentatively titled "Bad Wine and Lemon Cake" after the song of the same name by The Jane Austen Argument from which I have lovingly borrowed lyrics to title this post.

I suppose I've bored you enough for one day. I do hope you haven't tl;dr'd these entries but I suppose as long as you look at the pretty pictures it is okay if you did. I'll be back at you soon with one of those posts about things I love and which inspire me which my friends have already done.


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