Thursday, January 12, 2012


by Barbara Bechtel

Recently, as I reorganize and think more critically about my work, I went back and looked at my jewelry that I've made over the years in order to codify the various pieces and parts of my work and try to draw some parallels.

Symbols have always been a huge part of my work. Beginning in college when I began to build a body of work, I took a jewelry class as an elective. Little did I know that this would form the basis for how I'm working today....

work made while in my jewelry electives circa 2002

 Fast forward seven years to when I began making jewelry again, I had only a few basic materials, no torches or hammers, I began bringing home broken jewelry from estate sales and found several long unused blocks of polymer clay purchased on clearance from the craft store.

some of my very first jewelry when I returned to jewelry made with polymer clay and vintage beads collected at estate and garage sales.
 One of my personal goals going into the new year is to continue to source materials from things I already own and things that can be recycled, either by buying second hand or making my own tools, as others have done throughout history and time. I continue to source a large part of my materials and tools from these places and by intentionally recognizing that fact, it has been a great source of inspiration.

vintage lace and copper stampings found at an estate sale early in 2011
Now, as I begin to form the basis for new ideas in a new year, I am again returning to what I have found and collected as part of my journeys throughout the years. I was so inspired by Jeannie's post yesterday. Over the last weeks, as I've been doing a bit of reorganizing my home and studio, I've been reexamining what I've found and collected and wondering how I can use use these collected things, to make the most of what I have around me to add personal meaning into adornment.

I've also been thinking about the jewelry I wear on a daily basis and how my own jewelry fits in with the meaning I place on the things I choose to wear everyday.

What do you think? 

Is the jewelry you make a reflection of the jewelry you wear and find personal meaning in? 

What parallels have you drawn in past work you've created to the work you're creating now?


mairedodd said...

your work is beautiful - be it from now or then... i have to tell you, i just love the metal work! yes, i find there to be a connection of intention in my work - but the execution has changed due to learning new techniques and introducing different materials... the jewelry i make could just as easily be for me as for someone else, i connect that deeply to what i have on my bench... thank you for the moment of reflection - i hadn't thought about these things...

stacilouise said...

I definitely make things I would wear. It took me a long time to go from making what people wanted to buy and wear, to making jewelry that I love and wear. Once I made that jump, it felt good and natural and I haven't looked back! And its funny you talk about past parrellels because my post tomorrow is on a bit of my past and how it played into my jewelry. So stay tuned;)

Spirited Earth said...

your metal work was is your polymer clay now..
I only, regularly ,wear a vintage
(45+yr) Mexican silver bracelet that had belonged to my grandmom, which I rarely remove. I do make jewelry that I might like to wear,( if i wore it)as opposed to designing pieces that are dictated by what others like. I like to think of jewelry as a sort of talisman for the wearer..a little ,mobile work of art.

TesoriTrovati said...

I think that there needs to be an evolution to your design. It builds on all you have learned in your time on earth and reflects a ready and open heart. I am evolving this year. I am exploring new materials and techniques. I just sat and sketched some new to me designs that will be a complete departure from what I have been making. I want to see where that will take me. I like your new metal pieces very much. Actually every thing that I make is something that I would be proud to wear even if my jewelry cache looks like an eclectic garage sale sometimes! I don't design things I don't like. I love to see your transformation, Miss Barbara.
Enjoy the day.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Great pieces! My work has evolved since I first start jewelry making five years ago. I, like many, started out stringing, then found myself having an addiction to purchasing beads. I then went on to create beads from earthenware, then porcelain. I am now enjoying enameling. I guess I bounce all over the place since I think I get bored. I wish I could focus on one thing and keep evolving with just that.... but I start to lose interest and want to keep doing something different. I think the only thing that stays consistent is that I'm drawn to an earthy, rustic look with jewelry I wear and create.

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