Monday, May 10, 2010

RePurposing Materials to Create New Designs

I made this bench just now. I had these two metal end tables I found in someone's trash pickup. Kind of retro, the sort with that mesh top and it matches the mesh side chairs you see in European cafes in city parks, like the Tuillieries in Paris. I thought they were cool when I got them but I just couldn't find a purpose for them after I came home. So they just sat there on the front porch, uninspired, poor things!

Yesterday I was under my back porch where we store things like weedwackers and firewood and came across a bench seat that I had salvaged from a whole teak bench that the back and arms rotted right off. Pulled it out and hosed it down. I thought I was going to do something else with it, make legs out of old 2 x 4s, logs, leftover pavers, not even thinking about those two lifeless end tables on the front porch. So this morning it came to me. It was just about the right size for those two end tables, will it just fit the tops of them so I can make the end tables the legs for this bench top?? Well whaddya know! It fit perfectly, like it was meant to be! I attached those tables to the bottom of the seat with cable ties. It worked like a dream. Even the stain on the bench works with it, no need to refinish, perfectly weathered. It has a mod look to it like it came from Bo Concepts or something. I threw on some seat pillows and a little astro turf pillow, flanked it with two ficus trees. Now it's a place for lemonade, neighbor watching, and observing my Michael's landscaping, which is going to be the perfect compliment to my little two seater bench. And it cost nothing, except a salvaged bench seat, trashed end tables and 6 cable ties and I already had the seat pillows. Please come on by for a lemonade!

The same thing can be applied to jewelry. How many of you have box loads of old designs, stuff that didn't sell? You make a new line every season, every year. What do you do with the old stuff? Necklaces, earrings, bracelets. How last season are they? Years worth? Are they selling? Are you giving them away as presents? If they are still laying about, think about dismantling them and repurposing the materials. How daunting, you spent so much time on that piece but think about the value of the materials that you can use again in a new design. You've moved on from that design perhaps and learned your lesson from working on that piece. You've learned better wire wrapping techniques, better knotting, better stone placement. If it isn't moving in your retail situations, it's stagnant, so why not refresh it? Clear the clutter so you'll clear your head for more ideas to flow. They may be your "children", but let them go and evolve into better designs. Designing is pulling from so many inspirations. Your archive of designs may spark something bigger and better.

Start small. One bracelet. Take it apart and sort the materials. If you aren't already saving your scraps, get started now. A container for silver and one for gold. There are companies that buy back your scrap. Now how was that? Can you do it again? Go for five pieces a day. This is a perfect project to do on those rainy days that you're at a show and there's not much traffic. Pack a little "deconstruct" box, add little baggies to collect the "new" supplies you're getting. Before you know it, you've replenishe
d some findings, stones, cleared some space, saved some money. Recycle and repurpose. And get freshly inspired with all that new material before you.

No comments: