Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Upcycling Pendants

 Discovering our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore has ended up being the find of the century for me.  Not only have I picked up small goodies for our vintage shop, great books for a dollar, and old hardware for projects- I've also stumbled onto a wonderful cache of recycled tiles.  I started off with the normal square floor tiles, which I'll post about later.  Then I found these sheets of small mosaic tiles made for back splashes.  I bought the first ones there at the ReStore, just so I could recycle.  But I went through those so quickly I had to go to Lowe's to buy more of them, where they are sold by the sheet or the case.

One of the reasons I always wanted my own kiln, was so I could experiment.  I would never put something in a kiln belonging to someone else, if I couldn't be positive it wasn't going to explode!  Or at the very least, ruin the kiln.  I am willing to take that chance with my own, although I would be quite devastated if I broke my kiln!  Not cheap to replace!!  But I thought, well these are technically glazed ceramic tiles, so that means they went through the firing process at least twice already.  They should be safe to run through a kiln again, even a small one like my little Exit Strategy (my nickname for her).


 After removing the tiles from the mesh backing, and cleaning off the glue holding the tiles to the mesh, I was able to take my glazes and design away.  I like the long rectangular tiles the best, but I think the small hexagonal ones are a nice size as well.  The cleaning process is time consuming because the glue is strong, made to withstand commercial applications of the tiles.  I confess I've sliced open my fingers a time or two while scrubbing them down.


 Once the tiles were glazed, I added silver bails to the backs of them.  I've listed several in my Etsy shop, just as pendants.  I think the smaller ones would look best on a silver chain, and the larger ones definitely need something sturdier like a leather cord.  So far I haven't seen anyone else on Etsy doing anything like this.  I see a lot of people take these same tiles and put pictures on them, with resin.  But I haven't seen anyone glazing them.  I'm going to continue to play with other colors, especially my glazes that have crystals in them- I love opening the kiln and seeing how the crystals dispersed the color.  It's always a fun surprise, and one of my favorite moments.  Sometimes the color combinations I chose just don't work out, but most of the time, I like the results.


 The backs of course still look like the original tile, which I like, because it's a reminder that this is a recycled item.  The long tiles even have "Mexico" stamped in the clay.  I sanded them down as best as I could, and they are fairly smooth.  I haven't had any issues whatsoever with the one I kept for myself and wear almost every day.  It doesn't scratch my skin, or my clothes, and I barely notice it at all- just like wearing any other piece of jewelry.  I signed and dated the backs, as I do with all my jewelry pieces.


 Although in my Etsy shop, I've only listed the pendants by themselves, I did make one necklace for myself (the top one below).  It gets noticed and I've gotten a great deal of compliments on it everywhere I go.  I'm going to start taking the pendants and making more necklaces, to set aside as inventory so I can start doing local craft shows, street fairs, and art festivals in 2015.  I think it's something easy to make but still cool and handmade, and everyone loves "recycled" art.  I will keep the prices down on them, I'm thinking in the $5.00-$7.00 range, depending on the size of the tile.  I also think the smaller tiles, especially the little round ones, will make fantastic magnets and I've got plans to make up a few batches of those as well.


 You can check out more of the pendants at my Etsy shop at Black Hairy Spider Arts.  And once I know for sure the dates of the 2015 shows, I'll be posting those here as well.  I believe the first one is in April, and I'm aiming for that as a starter, because it's a small show here in downtown Newnan.  I plan to make plenty of other items as well, but I really want to make a lot of these tile pendants.  I hope that people will appreciate these, not only because I feel it's a bit of an original idea, but also because it's upcycling and helping out a local community charity.  I also strongly encourage you to find your own local ReStore, especially if you do crafts, because there are treasures on every shelf!


1 comment:

  1. Great stuff! Thanks for the step-by-step look on how you make your works. It’s nice that you make these by recycling old material to make such wonderful accessories. And having an abundance of things to draw materials from certainly gives you a leeway with experimenting with stuff. Anyway, I hope to see more of your projects in the future. Cheers!

    Ricky Rowe @ Find A Jewelry Expert