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Guest post - The Greedy Magpie on jewellery making

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Greedy magpieWell, where do I start? I’m probably like any other fabric mad seamstress - I love a good haberdashery department, but I’m also in my element in the ironmongery department of a D.I.Y store. Or picking shiny items up off the pavement! Hence the name ‘Greedy Magpie’.

I’ve always loved groups of small things, I love bits that come off things too! Such as the tiny brass rings on the end of a used guitar string, they are fab.

I started to dabble in simple jewellery making after finishing my fine art degree in 2008. I also junk shops and vintage emporiums and have a real enthusiasm for  ‘re working’ things.

I came across Susan Lenart Kazmer whilst trying to find a way of fixing two items together. Susan is described as an explorer, inventor and maverick who has ‘pioneered the use of found objects in jewellery making’. The method Susan uses to join metal together is riveting, literally! Wow! You use a piece of wire, it could be a small length from a bicycle spoke, put through a drilled hole, add your next piece of drilled metal, hammer the end of the wire flat, flip it over, cut the wire to desired length, hammer that end flat too and ‘voila’ you have joined items together.

I played around with this method, the first piece I sold was a dog tag with vintage watch parts fixed to it. I am keen to use pre loved items in my work. I have taken apart vintage watches and have used pre loved pieces of jewellery in other pieces.

Needing to learn more about types of metal and other ways of joining things I searched for some type of silversmithing course. I attended a local class where I learnt about soldering, which is fascinating! I love that moment when the solder runs and then joins your seam. I’m not very good but with practice it should become easier.

Recently I became involved in a craft swap with friends I made whilst taking part in a twitter project, making ‘pillow case’ dresses for young girls in third world countries. For the craft swap I designed a piece of jewellery using bits and pieces I have acquired along the way, I constructed the piece and sent it off to my craft swap partner. I waited with baited breath. It was a tense couple of days! The comments were really positive, which is great. It inspired confidence. The craft swap is a really good idea to test your products, you’re among friends who are supportive and appreciative and it's all light hearted.

 I’m now designing my next piece and in true Greedy Magpie style I’m on the hunt for more shiny elements that I can adapt.

To get in touch with Dawn go to Twitter @thegreedymagpie or visit her website.


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