Jewelry made from upcycled, recycled, or otherwise repurposed materials is a lot like, well, let’s say it’s a lot like any other jewelry: there’s some good, a good deal more bad, and some very very ugly. Any of us who owned a wire jewelry-making set as a kid knows that it’s not like it’s super hard to first venture into the jewelry-making world.
Perhaps most unfair of all for the aspiring jewelry designer, the best jewelry out there always seems like the simplest. It’s the stuff that makes us say things like, “oh, I could make that.” And try as we might, usually we end up with something that looks a bit more like a home-ec project and a little less like a sleek, understated accessory.
I think this is ten times truer for jewelry made from repurposed materials. It’s not like just anyone can pull off gum-wrapper earrings or skateboard pendants without it looking like they went out to my garage or rummaged my junk drawer and glued a few things onto a pair of cheap, blank studs.
It takes more than the desire to make a positive environmental impact to bring about not simply creative but also successful eco-friendly design.
Today, I want to spark a little bit of debate. Get some conversation going. I want to know if you think these knitting-needle accessories (rings at top of this post, bangle bracelets below, necklaces at the end of the post) by Liana Kabel “work” and if so, why? What makes these successful from a design standpoint? Does it matter that they also happen to use repurposed materials? Is that part of their success or would they be successful even if you didn’t know they once lived a knit-purl life?