Ever feel like you're just about to crack? Maybe you feel like you just want to smash something. Well, there's always Sarah's Smash Shack for that, but what to do with all of the broken pieces afterwords? Marjorie Cunningham has the answer with her unique handcrafted jewelry made from recycled shards of broken china and porcelain.
Tell us a little about yourself and your work. I work full time as a paralegal and I also own a jewelry business where I design handcrafted jewelry from shards of broken china. Most broken china jewelry designers solder the broken edges of the china. My jewelry is a bit different in that I use no solder or glue. Instead, after filing the broken edge smooth, I wire wrap the piece, which gives my jewelry an added dimension of artistry. Along with the wire wrapped broken china pendants, rings, brooches and earrings, I also design necklaces and bracelets that are hand crocheted with wire, creating an even more unique look for the broken china pieces. The lacy look of wire crochet goes beautifully with the vintage look of some of the china. Going along with the "cracked" theme, I've included sea glass (broken glass shaped and smoothed by the sea) and broken shell jewelry in my inventory. My jewelry goes with any type of clothing - from vintage to modern.
How did you get started as a designer? I've always loved arts and crafts of all kinds. When I saw some broken china work at a home show here in New Jersey, I thought it was such a fascinating concept and a delightful way to recycle beautiful china. I knew I had to try making some pieces of my own. I started off with wire wrap instead of solder since I felt I could be more creative with that method. It was inevitable that I would find a way to include crochet work in my jewelry since I've loved to crochet since I was a child. And equally inevitable that I would also use sea glass and shells since I've lived on the Jersey Shore all my life.
What inspires your work? The china itself inspires me. The art work and beauty of china is intriguing and I always do a bit of research on the history of the particular piece of china before I begin working on it. Some of the china I've worked with is hand painted by artists and is so lovely. It gives me great joy to be able to create a piece of jewelry that can be treasured for many years to come from a piece of broken china that can no longer be used. It's a very "green" type of jewelry and fits in perfectly with today's recognition of the need for recycling. I'm also inspired by the other jewelry designers I've been fortunate enough to meet. Their work is amazing and they give me support and encouragement every day.
Who are your favorite designers? For clothing, my favorite is Jones of New York - their sales rack, of course! As for vintage fashion, there's only one place I'll head. She may not be a designer, but Louise of Catwalk Creative certainly has an eye for fashion. As for jewelry, I've learned the importance of the creativity and care that indie jewelry designers put into their work and there will be no more mass produced jewelry for me! There are many indie jewelry designers that I respect, far too many to list, but my favorite in that category would be Jamee Jones of Jonara Blu Maui. She specializes in beach wedding jewelry but I think her jewelry is beautiful for any occasion.
What are your top fashion & beauty must-haves? I can't have enough earrings and rings! As for beauty supplies, it must be a natural product and not tested on animals.
Any advice you would give to aspiring designers? You need to be passionate about your work and persistent and determined to see your business succeed. Don't get discouraged and don't give up. And create what YOU want to create and have faith in your vision. You can succeed if you believe in yourself. It's a hard road but a very rewarding one. You won't know if you can do it unless you try - so go for it!
Where can people find your work? I have a website at www.marjoriescracked.com and also recently opened an Etsy shop at http://marjoriescracked.etsy.com.
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