I have been making jewellery for almost 20 years now using Sterling Silver, Paua and Jade.
I am finding the latest direction my jewellery is taking really inspiring and exciting, because it combines inventing new ways to make and design stuff with my environmental ethos. Add to that the never-ending increase of the price of Sterling Silver and the difficulty of sourcing New Zealand Jade and the Recycled Glass range makes sense on so many levels.
The thing I like about the glass is the huge range of possibilities it offers for a free material. From the multitude of different angles and shapes you can cut from bottles and all the different colours of glass there is a huge potential of ideas. As well as that there is melting the glass in a kiln into moulds and sandblasting as well as tumbling in abrasive grit for the finishing.
Because I have done a lot of Jade carving in the past I have a fully equipped stone-carving workshop which means diamond-grinding wheels, saws and burrs which are perfect for the glasswork. Surprisingly glass is actually very hard and difficult on even diamond tools! I have come up with some great jigs and systems for doing what I need and the best thing is if something goes wrong and it breaks you simply throw it back in the recycling and grab another!
Surprisingly enough actually sourcing some of the bottles I need is quite difficult. The emerald green wine bottles I use quite a bit are probably only about %10 of bottles (most are olive green) and the old blue wine bottles are also very popular but hard to source. The difference in quality and thickness of glass also varies hugely; even in the same bottle one side is often twice as thick as the other.
A pet peeve of mine is that with the ridiculous regulations of the world today simply going to the recycling centre and looking through the bottle pile is really difficult. Even with boots and gloves just imagine what might happen, I might slip and cut myself and sue the recyclers!
In spite of all that I am finding ways to get what I need and am really looking forward to exploring more and more design ideas as I expand the range, I am really only just getting started! I want to create some more refined and delicate designs next and experiment with sandblasting and combining different coloured glass.
I have searched the web all around the world and haven’t found anyone doing anything very similar to what I am doing.
Watch this space!