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Welcome to Upcycling Month

upcycling month

UPCYCLING: to reuse discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. 

That's how Webster's defines upcycling, and at Facet, we plan to spend the month of June encouraging you to explore the idea! Over the next four weeks, we'll be exploring ideas and projects related to crafting and jewelry making that use repurposed materials, found items, hardware, or just plain "junk!"

You hear the phrase "trash to treasure" used a lot when people talk about upcycling, but what does that mean? Do you need to root through your kitchen can and make earrings from banana peels? No, of course not! But, there are so many great items and objects that you could use as jewelry components, storage containers, display fixtures and more. You just need to get creative and use your imagination!

We'll be talking to some people who have made repurposing unused or unwanted craft supplies into a business, and some people who have created entire jewelry lines from discarded materials. These wonderful artists and entrepreneurs are both keeping things out of landfills and preserving the environment, and also providing inspiration to other artists on how to use unexpected and often delightful items in their work. 

We'll also have some videos, photo galleries, and Pinterest boards devoted to the art of upcycling, so stay tuned throughout June! 

group shot
Remaking vintage jewelry is a huge part of upcycling.

I decided that we here on staff should have some fun during the month of June and show you just how easy it can be to take some dated, out-of-style pieces from a thrift store (or your own jewelry box!) and turn them into something else. 

For more than a month, I've had the "Bag of Secrets" sitting in my office for anyone to contribute a piece of jewelry that may be a bit past its prime, but has bits or baubles or pieces of chain that could be turned into something else, with a little creativity. This morning, we did a blind draw and five of us selected a piece to remake. It (of course!) turned into a lot of giggling, and trading back and forth, but here's what each of us will be working on:

all the treasure
Here is all of our "treasure." Some I bought at thrift stores or church rummage sales specifically for this purpose, or pulled from my own jewelry box. Some, Julia has had in her house since the 80's or 90's, it seems! 
I drew these "outer space" earrings. They are made from a paper-thin base metal -- about the thickness of tin. 
Facet web editor Heather drew this kinda hideous brooch, which I bought deliberately (for $3!) because it has some really beautiful (turquoise?) beads hanging off the edge. Heather is the most novice jewelry maker on our team, but I know she'll be able to use those pretty blue stones somehow!
Julia, the editor of Bead&Button magazine, drew two necklaces that I think were hers in the first place! The lighter-colored one will be an interesting challenge, because it is a material similar to cup chain, glued together with no holes. I can't wait to see what she comes up with!
I'm not sure exactly what Diane, the associate editor of Bead&Button, wound up with, but she's wearing this necklace around the office! I bought it at a thrift store for a buck. 
Erica, the jewelry books editor here at Kalmbach, wound up with this tangled mess of sparkles and chains. I think she's at her desk now just trying to figure out what the original piece is supposed to look like!

The other exciting part of Upcycling Month here on Facet will be our Design Challenge. We have a different theme each month for our Challenges, and any jewelry maker is welcome to enter! Just send us a photo of a piece that you designed and you could wind up with your work being featured here on Facet. 

The Design Challenge theme for June will, of course, be UPCYCLING! 

Make something beautiful out of something discarded. Dismantle and reinvent a broken piece of vintage jewelry, or turn a piece of scrap metal into a fabulous brooch. Work with beer bottle caps, keys, plastic pieces, or computer components. Go green and reinvent this June! 

The contest will open on Wednesday, June 7, and close on Wednesday, June 28. We can't wait to see what you've taken from the trash and turned into something beautiful!


FIND MORE: beads , metal , wire

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