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


Indie Jewelry: Simply Sarah’s November 3, 2008

Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

Sarah Skeen is the owner of the delightful Etsy shop Simply Sarah’s.  You’ll find fabulous jewelry, bags, scarves and more, all lovingly handcrafted by Sarah in her Catskills Mountain home.

Sarah has a unique style and she is quite inventive in her designs.  She’s used antique glass buttons in these earrings, along with vintage frosted glass beads.  

Here she’s used Picasso finished Czech glass beads with an ozidized brass ring.

I asked Sarah what inspires her jewelry creations.  “Inspiration? Well, I browse Etsy as much as possible and I draw a lot of inspiration from some of the amazing designers there. Nature is also a huge inspiration for me. I like to incorporate nature as much as possible even if it’s just a little charm or something. It may not always work out to have an element of nature, but I try.”

Sarah is also a wonderful photographer, and her work can be found in Flickr.  I was curious to know which artistic endeavor she enjoyed more and whether she had any other artistic talents. “I have so many things that I love, and I love them all for different reasons, but I think that photography is my number one. I love my macro lens the most because I get to capture little things that most people would never notice and walk right by.  Jewelry design is my number two. It’s like therapy for me. I sit in the quiet and create, and I love that time of my day. I have also just recently taught myself to crochet and have fallen in love with it. And before I was a mommy I was a baker so that is another artistic outlet of mine.”

Sarah has recently added hand crocheted items to her Etsy shop.  When I asked if she had a dream project she’d like to accomplish someday, she said that she’d like to learn how to make an afghan … a really BIG one!

Sarah has a beautiful little girl named Lily.  I asked her how she structured her work time around caring for a small child.  “Well, I try to incorporate my daughter into whatever I am doing. If I decide to work on a piece of jewelry during the day, I give her string and beads and she loves it.  She loves to “help” mommy. Most of my crafting takes place at night though. That is my quiet, personal time that I treasure.”

And here’s Sarah’s advice for jewelry designers just starting out.  “My two pieces of advice are:

1.  Network! Get your shop’s name out there by joining myspace, facebook, flickr and any other forums that you know of.  Getting to know other Etsy sellers is a great way to get your name out there.

2.  Browse Etsy a lot!  I get tons of inspiration there and learn quite a bit from the Etsy forums.”

Sarah posts often in her blog which she has entitled Wake Up and Live—you’re sure to enjoy getting to know more about her life and her designs there. Click her to visit her Esty store.


Ecologically-Sound Baubles October 1, 2008

For the ultimate in green jewelry, check out Italian-born Patrizia Iacino’s cocktail-worthy rings made from the recycled rubberbands off broccoli bunches and glam necklaces fashioned from milkcaps. Trained in Florence as an architect and now a New York City dweller, Iacino began creating recycled jewelry about a year ago. Mixing recycled items with precious metals, stones and pearls, the result is truly stunning. Check out Patrizia’s fab jewelry here.


Don’t cry over broken china: Recycle it into jewelry! August 19, 2008

Did your heart break just like your favorite vase did when it slipped out of your hand and fell to the floor?  Has the handle broken off of that beautiful tea cup that your grandmother loved so many years ago?  Would you like to do something really special for your teenage daughter’s graduation—maybe something with that Beatrice Potter bowl that she used as a child?

Just give Marjorie a shout at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry Store.  She designs unique handcrafted jewelry using smoothed shards of beautifully decorated china, porcelain and ceramic, all intricately wire wrapped. You’ll find pendants, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, earrings, rings and brooches.  For instance, here’s a pendant designed from a lovely Limoge plate:

Broken china Limoge pendant

Broken china Limoge pendant

Marjorie also crochets with wire, creating unusual and striking necklaces and bracelets that go so well with her broken china work, such as this lovely copper bracelet designed using Richard Ginori china from Italy.

Richard Ginori broken china crochet wire bracelet

Richard Ginori broken china crochet wire bracelet

To go along with her “cracked” theme, Marjorie now also includes sea glass and unusual broken shell jewelry in her repetoire.

Each piece is a one-of-a-kind creation—beautiful and affordable.  Choose something from her extensive inventory, or she will work with you to create a custom-designed piece.  Wearing Marjorie’s jewelry is like wearing a bit of history and is a totally “green” experience.