Monday, November 26, 2012

Reclaimed jigsaw puzzle jewellery

It happened well over a year ago. I was op-shopping with a friend in Sydney's West. I saw a jigsaw puzzle with a strange image on the box. It was one of those old paintings with so many people and details, in really dark rich colours, almost ugly. But I opened the box and thought I love those colours, I could do something with that.

I thought, I'll make some jewellery, I'll find little images amongst the overall scene and I'll make them into brooches. I'll make use of all the different colours in smaller pieces for necklaces or earrings. 

The box sat in my studio for quite some time... I started doing the puzzle, it takes a long time! It does remind me of childhood, tackling some big puzzles with my family over the summer holidays. I think before I even finished making my prototypes, I had already started collecting other puzzles. 

I've spent nights on the sofa and afternoons in the garden, bent over puzzles... I've even tried to rope friends and relatives into helping me, I'm picturing puzzle parties... puzzling times ahead!

Check out some of the pieces I've made so far... more to come, much much more!

Awesome artists who reclaim and re-use

At Eveleigh Market I met a fellow cardboard afficionado... A customer showed me the cardboard handbag she'd bought from him, so I went to the other end of the market shed to check it out.

"I work with cardboard too!" We both started waxing lyrical... "I love it! It's simple but elegant... It's raw... It's abundant... I love the 'fluting' inside... yeah, the corrugations, I love the edges too!" Well, something like that...

His name is Jeff McCann... he's from Wagga Wagga but was having an artist's residence at Gaffa Gallery in the Sydney CBD. 

One of Jeff McCann's paintings on cardboard - image via Between the Sheets of Cardboard

Jeff makes cardboard handbags/satchels, they're folded into a delicious pillowy shape, with brown paper tabs along the sides. He says he likes cutting up the big brands and featuring bits of text and colour. I do that too in my collages. Sometimes he does that, other times he decorates with original drawings. My friend Kirsten bought one with a gorgeous Fox on the front.

Jeff McCann's flute handbags - image (left) via Photograph by Rory Madigan. Image (right) via Between the Sheets of Cardboard

Find out more about Jeff's work here at The Cardigan Threads Collective.

Jeff was sharing a stall with Nina Baker, from The Side Project. Nina's work is awesome! It's edgy and beautiful. Some of Nina's jewellery designs feature thin strips of metal collected from the street - they've fallen out of street sweeping machine brushes. 

I snapped one up at a previous market! It's got two strips of metal, some bright yellow teardrop beads and a tiny pearl, on silk thread. 

Read more about the street sweeper jewellery here - and also here

I also love The Side Project's brooches - photos printed onto aluminium sheet - quirky images like burlesque beauties from a bygone era, Australian scenes - street signs, suburban homes. More images here at

This one's mine all mine. Ain't she beautiful?!

Mind you, this is just the "side project"- more on Nina's jewellery here

That is one of the great things about doing markets - meeting other like-minded people who love to create.