Wednesday, April 22, 2015

earth day and jewelry making - mary jane dodd - love my art jewelry

mary jane dodd

i couldn't be more happy to be writing here today... it got me to thinking about how caring for and honoring the earth relates to our daily craft. 

we owe almost everything we use in jewelry making to mother earth - metals, stones, glass, fibers. in choosing our resources, we should be mindful of process and source. 

fibers come from plants and animals - try searching 'plant dyed' or 'eco dyed' - the results are inspiring. 

natural dyed worsted wool yarn by turkish artisans

honor the stones you are using - learn about them, where they are mined, how rare or bountiful it is (and remember, everything has a finite quantity). find out if they are dyed. gemstones are believed to have metaphysical properties - whether you believe that or not, it can be interesting to read about and see why certain stones are chosen for specific reasons. 


can provide information and inspiration


the beautiful stone labradorite is believed a stone of transformation and can impart perseverance and strength. 

then there are serious ways our work can impact the environment - 

the use of toxic chemicals for example.

did you know that instead of using commercial pickle for cleaning your metal, you can use white vinegar and salt? it's true. just be sure to keep separate containers for your brass and copper. and you don't even have to keep it warm.

there are alternatives to using pcb etchant for etching, like electro etching with saltwater. i found a kit on etsy here. please keep in mind that this kit is an example, i haven't used it. 

perhaps where we really can make a difference is in our choices of metals - let's face it, sheet metal and wire are the backbones of most work. 

sterling silver does not have to be mined - it can be made from post-consumer sources and is sold as 'recycled'. post-consumer sources can be jewelry, medical, electronics and giftware. you can send back your scrap to certain places like riogrande and monsterslayer (to name only 2).

argentium silver is a silver that stays bright and resists firescale and tarnish. but most importantly it is certified to be from reclaimed sources. 

i found a very good article about using argentium in jewelry making by megan martin. it was posted on the art jewelry elements blog and i encourage you to take a look at it. 

you put your time and money into your supplies and designs. these choices can be helpful or harmful to the planet. the last thing we want to do with the objects of beauty that leave our hands is to harm our most beautiful and inspiring resource, the earth. with a little thought and selectiveness, we can minimize our impact. 

happy earth day!


stacilouise said...

beautiful post for Earth Day (and everyday!) and may I add, you can recycle your metals as well as purchase wire made from recycled metals at many places :)

Almost Precious said...

Great post for an important day. We often take for granted all the marvels that our Mother Earth provides for us. Every single thing we use or consume is a gift, a resource from our wondrous planet. From the very water we drink to that fantastic diamond that we covet so dearly.
For years I had been saving scraps of sterling silver, 14 k gold filled and even copper, a few months ago I sent my sterling and gold bits and pieces in to Rio Grande for recycling and was very pleasantly surprise at the refund I received. Recycling can be rewarding in very many ways, it's a win-win situation for humanity and for our planet.

lakesuperiorwaves said...

I use salt and vinegar as a pickle and etch with salt water and a rechargeable battery. Both work just fine for me. Great post for Earth Day!

Barry said...

Great earth day post MJ. Citric acid works really well for cleaning silver. Cheers. B

Ann Schroeder said...

Thanks so much for this post. It will help me be more mindful in my choices. I especially appreciate the tip about pickle!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...