Every now and again, I get introduced to new products that are just so pretty I have to share, and today is no different. Mix in recycled products and I am so there. So when Ann Ellis contacted me to show me her colorful handmade lovelies, I knew I had to get more info! Ann was so kind not only to send over photos of her new work, but also was nice enough to participate in Our Designed Life’s first interview. I know, can you believe it! You can find all of Ann’s beautiful work here. did I mention she uses recycled materials?!
How did you get started in jewelry making and how long have you been at it?
I have always made stuff. I like creating! When I was about 8 years old, our neighbor, who was a shoemaker, gave me a bag of tiny bits of leather leftovers. I spent the afternoon cutting out shapes and rolling them into wheels and sewing them together ad-hoc into a very fancy bracelet (that bit was hard, leather is pretty tough). My grown-up sister came home and grabbed it and wore it quite a lot and that felt pretty cool for me, that someone thought an item I had made was nice enough to be seen out in! When I grew up I became a graphic designer and a teacher and psychologist (they may seem different but honestly, they have a lot in common). And I carried on making, and now I am able to concentrate on creating, which is just fabulous.
What types of materials are your beads made from?
My jewelry is made form things that have been unwanted or discarded. They get a new lease of life- I’m a big believer in reinvention! I love old glass beads and my jewelry often includes them, together with metals, plastics, textiles and anything else that I think will work in a piece. I also use a lot of plastic bags, bottles, and drink cans. I like to combine materials that are traditionally regarded as precious with those that are not, just to challenge a few values.
You use recycled materials, that’s awesome. How do you go about retaining them and is there anything special you have to do to make the material usable?
Unwanted packaging isn’t hard to generate 🙂 Also lovely people who like my work kindly collect stuff for me. I love finding treasure to use in my pieces! First thing to do is make sure its all clean. Then I sort and store it until inspiration strikes. Drink cans I flatten and cut and file into shape. Plastic bags need fusing to give them strength. Plastic bottles I cut, dye and solder. I’m experimenting all the time.
What is your inspiration?
One of my absolutely favorite designer-makers is the late Ramona Solberg. As well as being an inventive and creative designer, she seemed so down to earth and just plain nice. Theme wise, my work is all about renewal, reinvention and transformation and I am inspired by tales of people dong the best they can with what they’ve got. I’ve recently been making pieces for a Fairy tale Christmas exhibition I’m part of this winter. Each Piece is named after a fairy tale charachter who rose like a phoenix from the ashes in some way.
Thank you Ann for sending over your great work and giving us an inside to your design process!
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