When Does “Junk” Become Treasure?

Page Protector BeadsI belong to a group of Fiber Artists that meet once a month to critique our work, torture fibers, share techniques, and kibitz. I’m not exactly sure what Kibitz means but I’m sure that’s what we do 😉

Last month we succumbed to the current craze of turning junk into treasure by melting plastic to make beads. It was fun, stinky and headache provoking in a closed room – duh! But it was also 6 degrees F. out and snowing, thus the closed room. In our defense, it was a big room. The first photo is melted strips of Page Protector with (lower front) peacock feather, sheer fabric (top right), and plain (top left). For the whole story see our group’s Blog.

Campbell’s BeadsThough this was fun and we played with other melt-able materials as well, I couldn’t help wondering what I would ever actually use them on. To me, a Campbell’s soup wrapper still belongs in the trash; I just can’t picture thinking of it as a thing of beauty – sorry Campbell! This may explain why I have a hard time with the current craze of “Mixed Media” collage art. I feel a little like it’s too much! To busy, too junky, too everywhere! It makes me long for simplicity. I look at most of it and I want to run for a broom or hide in a bare room (not with white walls though, never white walls).

Junk JewelryThat is not to say that “found objects” or mixed media, or even collage cannot be done beautifully. I recently ran across an Etsy sight that had jewelry she makes from rocks. They are found objects but they are simple, clean, beautiful, even Zen like. Check this out but notice the lack of melted plastic anything. Another example in my own jewelry collection is the necklace at right. An Arizona artist who’s name I cannot remember (sorry!) made this with a rusted bottle cap, an old shoe button, a piece of beach glass and crystal beads from a broken vintage necklace. This is stunning without being “junky” or over done.

Why am I so craving simplicity? Could it be my studio is still a roaring mess?


Deb H

When Does “Junk” Become Treasure?

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