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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Pearly Queen

On the hunt for information about up-cycling, I visited a local exhibition by Laura Hounam, who makes up-cycled jewellery.

When I walked into the little museum that was hosting the exhibition I was blown away by the extent of it, the variety of gorgeous pieces of jewellery on offer and the range of up-cycled material that had been lovingly donated, collected and re-purposed to magnificent effect.

The next thing that struck me was the note on the table that told me all the proceeds from the sale of this wonderful jewellery was going to support the charity, Against Breast Cancer.  More about that later...

Let me, first, show you the creations and share Laura's story.

These made me think of all the buttons I've collected over the years.  I always remove buttons from anything that is going to be turned into rags, thinking I might use them one day.  I have a whole box full of them which I think would be better served by donating them to Laura.

These are decorated with donated pearls from broken necklaces.
That's another thing I seem to be collecting! I often find random beads around after parties.  Another broken necklace and the bead pot gets a donation.  I plan to use a few of them to decorate a bag I made from an old T shirt, but then I'm going to donate the rest to Laura.

Next on my clear out list is the array of colourful bits and pieces that fill a whole draw in my hallway.  I have plastic beads, shiny flowers and butterflies galore from when my daughters were little.  Into the 'Laura bag' they go.
Made from an old mattress cover

This beauty, has a wonderful story to go with it.  Laura told me it was made from an old mattress cover.  She grew up in a tenement, apartment blocks surrounding a courtyard.  She remembers when she was little that a man used to come round to recover the mattresses every now and again.  In those days, mattresses were stuffed with wool - the best were made with Scottish wool.  The wool would compact after a while and, so to make them last longer and for hygiene's sake too, the man would come round with his machine that looked like a gondola with spikes sticking out of the bottom, and he would remove the mattress cover, fluff up the wool with his spiky gondola machine and then give the mattress a new cover.

If jewellery from an old mattress cover wasn't bizarre enough, how about rings and brooches made from old tights?
These beauties are made by crocheting old coloured tights.
Laura is often given lots of things with which to create her jewellery, but she also finds some of her materials amongst pieces donated to Against Breast Cancer, to whom she donates all the money she makes from selling her jewellery.

If you have single earrings, stray beads, buttons, belt buckles and that kind of thing you can donate them to Against Breast Cancer, who are in the process of setting up collection points around and about.  If you have items to donate, or you would like to hold a collection point for Against Breast Cancer please contact Jane Terry on 01235 534211 or you can email her - for more information.

You can see Laura Hounam's jewellery exhibition throughout May at Faringdon Tourist Information Centre.  Laura will also be at craft fairs on Saturday 11th May at St Frideswide's Chruch on Botley Rd in Oxford, on Sunday 19th May at the Food and Craft Fair at Roots Garden Centre in Hermitage and on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May at the craft fair in Bampton Village Hall.  For more dates, you can visit Laura's website.

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