Confessions of a Junk Collector

by Susan Anderson.
(Home Studio)

Finished Necklace with Steamer Pendant - by Susan Anderson

Finished Necklace with Steamer Pendant – by Susan Anderson

I can’t deny it, I must confess, I am a junk collector! I see the possibility of creating art from everything. Drawers and closets are rooted through, the garage and junk yard become my treasure chest, thrift shops are a second home, and always, I am on the lookout for discarded materials that can be rescued and repurposed in interesting and artistic ways.

Metal Sections from an Old Steamer

Metal Sections from an Old Steamer

On one of my recent adventures to the second hand store, I found an old metal steamer. I stopped momentarily to assess my situation, “do I have enough studio space left to bring home one more thing” ? The idea of taking the steamer pieces apart to use in making jewelry overtook any good judgment I might have been aiming for, and home it came.

Front of Steamer Pendant - by Susan Anderson

Front of Steamer Pendant – by Susan Anderson

The first thing I did was separate the individual metal sections, which came apart easily. Looking them over, I realized they were perfect as a starter for a pendent. I sanded one piece with steel wool to clean it up, then applied layers metallic paint to give it an earthy surface look. Next digging through my stash I found an old coin, which I textured and painted. On top of that I placed a free formed polymer clay bead I made, which was also textured and painted. The central design was sandwiched between two strips of hammered copper.

Back of Steamer Pendant- Stamped Polymer Clay - by Susan Anderson

Back of Steamer Pendant- Stamped Polymer Clay – by Susan Anderson

I like the back of my necklaces to look as good as the front. In this piece the back is made from polymer clay stamped with a script design and fastened to the metal front, bonding the layers with liquid clay. The chain section is made by alternating hand formed polymer clay beads with organic black beads. All the connecting links were handmade with heavy gauge copper wire. A large decorative copper clasp closes at the back of the neck.

So what might appear as a piece of trash to someone else, to me, is really something with artistic potential, waiting to be reincarnated. As a confessed junk collector, “Oh don’t get rid of that, I can make something with it” is my mantra. And like a kid in a candy shop, my imagination runs wild, as I sift through my treasures, and wonder, what can I sample next!

Susan Anderson
Earthy By Design
Earthy By Design Etsy Shop

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  • Susan, thank you for sharing your fun and fascinating treasure hunt that resulted in this unique pendant! After your resurfacing of the steamer piece, I would never have guessed that’s what it was originally. And I love what you did with the back of the steamer pendant – I too appreciate when the back of a piece of jewelry is special in some way!

  • Thanks Rena- repurposing materials to me is such a helpful way to get inspiration for jewelry designs, especially when I feel like nothing is coming up through the creative zone.

  • Em says:

    I love this piece. I too am a junker but lack your artistic flair. You have given me inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cindy C says:

    People like you are true artists. They see everything with an opportunity of making something beautiful and creative. Your eye for “junk” is unique and as Em says, inspiring. I particularly like your journals on you Etsy site. I hope they are big sellers for you as they are really VERY cool! Good luck to you in your art career! By the way…what is a steamer?

  • I guess I should have said a vegetable steamer, they are probably not used as much these days, but you would use them to steam vegetables on the stove. Thanks for your feedback, it is inspiring!

  • Dianne says:

    I love this piece! My sister used to say everything is a collage part!

  • Lynn Moore says:

    Stunning pendant! Great job. Thanks for sharing.

  • Julie White says:

    That’s a great piece, and I love the combination of materials!

  • absolutely amazing transformation! ART! (and although I am not near so talented, I must say that your mad collecting is inspiring, so I will from now on blame you for the strange things I save for later pieces when I have the skills to use them)

  • Why thank you Natasha! Sometimes things I collect sit for very long periods of time before an idea pops up. I’m sure you will come up with some clever ways to use your stash. Have fun creating!

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