Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Secondhand Angels March 4, 2010

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, manager of Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets and owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

Meet one of our newest merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame MarketSecondhand Angels!   Here’s her story:

I am primarily a self-taught artist.  My mother is a painter and writer and was I exposed to a great deal of art and culture growing up.  I have taken a few classes here and there.  Most recently in the fall of 2009, I attended an ART of REUSE class at John C Campbell Folk School in Murphy, NC for a week.  It was a wonderful, priceless experience.  My instructor was very encouraging; I ended up with time recently after losing a job.  I decided if not now, when so I have been able to get my shop set up and focus on my art.  This is something I have wanted to do for many years.


I have done different things over the years – mixed media, collage, shadow boxes, but really got jazzed up about jewelry after JCC.  I came up with the name Secondhand Angels as I describe on my website.

I started making Angel Pins a few years ago after my Aunt Frannie passed away.  She was an exceptionally creative woman and very influential in my life.  I realize now that making the angels was my way of feeling close to her. She is with her sisters in my banner photo.  I started using odd earrings and pieces of jewelry.  I have sold in local shops, but until now I have mostly made items as gifts for friends and family.

I have recently expanded my vision with bracelets.  All designs are ONE OF A KIND; many are vintage and some are contemporary.  I use old and new buttons, items from the hardware store, sewing notions, beads and whatever strikes my fancy!  You may find an angel charm on most of my bracelets.

I collect items at thrift stores, flea markets and all places in between.  The collecting is just as special to me as assembling my pieces.  Who were the women who once owned these pieces of jewelry?  What were their lives like? Where did they live?  I love preserving the history by recasting items into a new interpretation.

I have also set up a fan page on Facebook and have over 100 fans in two days! Please stop by and join.

I feel this is the beginning of a journey for me and I will quote one of my first customers after she received an angel pin.  “My precious Hope Angel came yesterday!  And I’m wearing her today!  Thank you so much for your gift of vision! Blessings to you.”

I am proud to be a part of Reclaimed to Fame – I am honored.

Amy T. Cunningham
Secondhand Angels

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Say hi to dbDesigns! August 31, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets.

One of our newest merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market is dbDesigns of Fleming Island, Florida. Danielle Blumenberg creates beautiful jewelry from antique flatware and coins. She is very aware of her environmental footprint and does much in her work to reuse and repurpose. She also does a lot for charity. Here’s her story! “Hi! I’m Danielle Blumenberg, owner and designer of db Designs in sunny Fleming Island, Florida. I am a military wife (for 20 years), who has had the privilege to live all over the world. The great part has been getting to experience the cultures of different places every 2 to 3 years; the not-so-great part was never being able to have a career of my own… Until recently 🙂 “I started my jewelry design business a little over 5 years ago, and my how it has changed! What began as just a little bit of beading quickly grew into wirework, and then metal-smithing. For the most part, I am self taught (and consider myself very much a novice) with tons still to learn! I have been able to take some great workshops with incredibly talented artisans, but not nearly as many as I need or want! “Much of what inspires me and fires my imagination is trying to use old

commonplace items in new ways. I love working with many mediums, but mostly metal. Specifically, “upcycling” or “repurposing” antique and vintage solid silver flatware and coins into unique wearable art! As I anneal, saw, forge and bend the vintage components into fabulous pieces of jewelry, I wonder about the possible history of the components. For example, while I was working on the WWII era Mercury dime necklace, I couldn’t help but muse about whether any of the coins were in the pocket of an American G.I. as he defended our country.

“I have an environmentally friendly, but VERY messy, studio in my home, and recycle and reuse everything I can. I use natural chemicals, such as eggs for patina, and citric pickle, to try to reduce my environmental footprint. I also make every effort to purchase from fair trade vendors, as opposed to free trade vendors for my findings and beads. When founding db Designs, I wanted to strongly support the community and those who strive to make a difference. In an effort to do that, I contribute merchandise and a portion of all sale proceeds to a variety of charities. As db Designs continues to grow, so will my efforts to make a difference. To date, db Designs has donated over $8,000!!! For a list of some of the charities that have benefited, you can contact me via email at Danielle@designedbydanielle.com or visit http://www.designedbydanielle.com/aboutus.html.”

Check out dbDesigns here at 1000 Markets at http://www.1000markets.com/users/dbdesigns.

 

A Second Chance – Unique Fiber Arts May 21, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie Cunningham, owner of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry and manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market on 1000 Markets.

Introducing another of our fabulous merchants in the Reclaimed to Fame Market on 1000 Markets, Jess of A Second Chance, who has shared her story with us:

“Just to let you know who I am… I’m an internationally touring teaching artist. What? One who travels 250+ days out of the year to perform (theatre, dance, music), teach those skills to others (pre K – professional), and produce/write music (3 cds to date, hear them at http://www.jesspillmore.com).

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“I’m co-founder of an educational physical theatre company, Creatively Independent, as well as co-founder of an Americana Indie music label, RoadWorm Music.

“A Second Chance is an extension of all that inspires me.  I find expressive, abandoned/discarded sweaters and imagine their lives.  I imagine what they can now become and who might be drawn to it.  My different arts have common threads: improvise, enjoy the moment, listen, see the big picture and soak in the details.

“Recycling, re-crafting and supporting charity stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army is how I try and make a difference.  While on the road so much, I come across some great vintage pieces that don’t fit me… so why not spread the love?  Plus, 10% of all sales are donated to KIVA.org.  See who’s benefited already!

“I spend most of my time teaching others how to find and express their personal voice.  Now, I’m helping these pieces do the same for you.”

Jess
A Second Chance

 

Tatted Tales: Unique lace jewelry May 17, 2009

cameoround_galleryPersonal fashion is that right blend of unique personality and social convention. You want to stand out and blend in, and you want to do it with grace—and affordably. A few weeks ago, I came across the perfect accessory: tatted jewelry. Without a second thought, I ordered a set of earrings shaped like tiny pink roses with green leaves, made from fine thread and the finest beads. I have never seen such unique, delicate, outstandingly pretty jewelry. I was amazed to find that people still tat. When I was a child, I had seen someone tat, but I had never known anyone since then who actually tatted doilies or lace. I began reading about tatting and asking questions of the talented artist who made my earrings.

tigereye_galleryElizabeth Zipay has been designing and making tatted jewelry for eighteen years, since her grandmother taught her to tat. Although she had learned many other crafts, tatting caught her full attention because it is a dying art, and yet it is not difficult to learn and its products are simply beautiful. It’s portable, too. I used to carry knitting with me, but I have to admit it required a large bag and a certain amount of fuss. Tatting can fit into a Ziploc baggie in your purse. Most tatters carry the thread wound on a shuttle; its pointed ends have openings to allow the thread to slip out as needed. The lace may use one or two shuttles (each a few inches long), and there is no other equipment.

Tatted lace, like macramé, is made from a series of knots along a thread. The art lies in arranging the types of knots and loops of thread so that it forms rings, arches, and tiny “picot” loops like dew drops. Pieces can be small and simple, like the earrings, or large and complicated. Tatting was developed in the 19th century, perhaps as an offshoot of the sailors’ art of knot-tying. It quickly caught on with Victorians who needed lace to line their handkerchiefs, sleeves, and baby bonnets. In the century between the Civil War and World War II, American ladies turned out miles of tatted lace. Mass-market patterns in the 20s and 30s often featured tatted doilies and edgings. But as machine-production replaced all kinds of handmade lace, tatting lost its popularity. Although many girls still learned to crochet and knit, few learned to tat, and the art appeared to be dying. Enter the internet. Tatters like Elizabeth, taught by their grandmothers, created networks to share photos and patterns, and discuss how to improve the craft. You can find videos showing basic tatting technique on YouTube, and there are blogs that outline beginning lessons.

Elizabeth’s skill and speed allow her to make the simplest earrings in under an hour, while longer pieces like necklaces or cameos take days. The patterns are adapted from antique magazines, and she also designs her own images using the basic tatting figures. She has designed a butterfly and hummingbird, for example. My rose earrings could be matched with a large rose pendant or an entire necklace in which the chain, too, is tatted.

I am itching to try out a few simple tatting moves, since it’s one of the few thread-crafts I’ve never learned. But for now, I am going to enjoy dressing up even the plainest outfits with earrings that always seem special. If you want to see more of Elizabeth’s work, you can check out her 1000 Markets listing or her own website.

 

Andrew’s Reclaimed – Not One Tree, Not One January 19, 2009

Submitted by Marjorie of Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry – Manager of the Reclaimed to Fame Market at 1000 Markets.

The following is written by Andrew of Andrew’s Reclaimed – Reclaimed Wood & Garden Accessories

I have always had a fascination with woodworking. One of our most ancient crafts, it is simply amazing to me how far it’s come.

Let me tell you how I started on this journey into woodworking, and how a little resourcefulness and a bit of luck has brought my eco-friendly craft into our gardens.

It started several years back, when I had dabbled a little in woodworking. A little framing here, a bit of decking and fencing there. One sunny weekend I was helping out a friend of mine. He had recently purchased his first home, and was remodeling it. Where to begin? Well, he had decided that the outside would be the best start. He had already dismantled the deck in the back of the house, and was building a new one. All of the new framing and much of the decking he had already purchased, so there we began. Come dusk, when we were close to the end, we realized that we were going to be short on supplies, as the height of the deck was tall enough that it required a railing and balusters.

It wouldn’t have been such a challenge, except the project was on a tight budget. What to do now? That night it came to me. Months ago, I had helped a neighbor friend of mine take down his old barn. The neighbor had not had any use for this decades-old mossy weathered wood, but frankly, I would have hated to see it taken to the landfill. I think even then, in the back of my mind, I knew I would bring this precious wood to good use. I had de-nailed it, and stored it for later use.

Could I re-mill this old gray heap into useful material?

The next morning I told my friend about my plans for this lumber pile. “Couldn’t hurt, Andy”. This is where discovery began. We went back to the house, collected the lumber, and off we went to the table saw. Hours of sawing led to the unveiling of the beauty and durability of this old gray stack of boards. It was beautiful old-growth western red cedar. It looked and smelled wonderful. With the railing parts ready to go, we completed his deck, and he was so happy with it. It was just lovely. A better quality wood by far. Stiffer, stronger, finer grain, and full of color, from cocoa brown to fiery reds and orange. It looked just lovely against his stone gray composite deck boards. It was so rewarding, as I knew this railing was built without having to fell a single tree.

Soon after that, I started my research into the usefulness of cedar. I had no idea that there were so many different species and grades. The year previous I had built my own deck of ironwood, and as beautiful and carefully crafted as it was, I imagined how it would have looked, had I used reclaimed cedar. If a deck could be built from reclaimed cedar, what other possibilities were there?

I had always loved the beauty and strength of an arbor, and decided to plan and build one from reclaimed cedar for next spring, for our own garden. I had always admired the craftsmanship of the European garden arbors and pergolas and their history. I began collecting reclaimed cedar wood beams and boards that autumn. From old decks and fences to large demolition projects, I collected, sorted, planed, and stacked. Every time I planed, I was never disappointed. The color and sweet aroma of this fine decades-old wood has never failed to amaze me, and I just knew that there was real potential for this reclaimed wood.

Once my first arbor was built, I had a drive. Over the winter, I continued learning, and after having built planter boxes, trellises, and other items from the same gorgeous material, I wanted other people to see the beauty of this reclaimed wood, and how useful it could be. I wanted people to see that there are many ways to use reclaimed lumber, and that there was no need to throw it away or burn it. And that there’s another way to minimize our effect on our natural resources.

I remember the conversation my wife, Melissa and I had one day about how we could show people the beauty of this recycled material and how it can be “born again” into our gardens. Where could we possibly start? “How about a farmers market?!” By this time, I had completed several breathtaking garden arbors for neighbors, and I had also started dabbling in different designs, and had completed several custom orders. We applied for the local farmers market, and were accepted. As luck would have it, our first farmers market was a hit. It was so rewarding, the number of people who were fascinated with the beauty and eco-friendliness of reclaimed cedar.

During that spring and summer, between market days, I researched and designed, and began building a variety of useful items, such as the bat houses, Flutterbye Houses, and the A.R. Bee Keep. My goal was not just to build quality into eco-friendly garden structures, but to help others with their desire to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. One of my most important goals, one that I always strive for, is to always provide my customers with a high quality eco-friendly product.

Since my spring and summer of crafting for the farmer’s markets, I have had the pleasure of being a part of Etsy.com, arguably the very best hand-crafted venue. I will tell you, the very fact that I have been part of the eco-friendly crafts movement has been such a pleasure. Having satisfied customers is for certain one of the most important things to me in my craft, but more than that, bringing more knowledge of eco-friendly material, and eco-friendly ways of being, is rewarding beyond what I can put into words.

I am really excited to see where the new year will take my craft, and look forward to bringing new styles out of the old barn beams and into our little corner of the world, and becoming a greater part of the solution for our increasingly eco-friendly lives.

Visit Andrew’s Reclaimed at http://andrewsreclaimed.1000markets.com

 

A new shopping mall for indie booty November 17, 2008

logo_sp1Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.  She also has a new shop at 1000 Markets.

A new marketplace has opened on the net and it promises to be an exciting one.  1000 Markets opened its doors a few days ago and already independent artisans for filling it up with one-of-a-kind shops.

1000 Markets has some aspects of Etsy in that it is restricted to handcrafted items (though Etsy also carries vintage items which 1000 Markets does not), Facebook in that customers can write on the seller’s Wall and leave comments as to particular products and sellers can create and join groups and communities and WordPress in that sellers can maintain a personal blog in their shop so customers can learn about them.

This new website also is in the process of creating markets, where groups of artisans’ shops will be located according to theme, like food or arts, or region or just a group of friends have gathered together to sell their products.  The site promises many developments in the very near future, but already it’s off to a great start.

So as you’re doing your holiday shopping in the coming weeks, stroll through the shops at 1000 Markets to find unique gifts for your special persons and chat with the merchants there.