Green is big right now. There are many artists out there who focus on using recycled, reused, or sustainable materials. This isn’t the easiest to do when you work with metal. Usually, being a green metalsmith involves using unusual materials in your jewelry. Harriete Estel Berman uses recycled tins to great effect. So what do I do to help the earth? The main thing is trying to use all of my scrap.
What is scrap? It’s the little pieces left over. Metal comes in rectangular sheet and if I want to cut a piece that isn’t rectangular, there is an odd shape left over that was cut off. I keep all of these in my scrap jars (separated by type of metal) and search through them when I’m looking for a little piece of textured or fold formed metal, or if I want some inspiration when I’m stuck.
Many times I use these little odds and ends for clasps, or more recently, for rings. All of my wrap around fold formed rings are made from left overs from other projects. In fact, most of my new rings use parts from my scrap jar. One of my newest rings, the small garnet one with the reverse set stone, uses the cut out from behind the stone in my cuff (RIP, the stone cracked right down the center. We will miss it.) that I made the same day. This is why I never throw any of my scrap away. I’ve even been saving my filings so that I might one day use it for texture.
So next time you see one of rings, think about how it began life as a piece discarded in the process of making something else, but was given a second chance to shine.