Although I have been making jewelry for nearly 20 years, the idea of repurposing silverware was brought to my attention about 5 years ago, when someone asked me to create “spoon rings” from her grandmother’s sterling silver spoon collection. She wanted to share the spoons with family members, in a way that they would be able to use and appreciate a piece from the collection.
I was a bit nervous about the process- hammering, cutting, torch annealing, chemical cleaning and applying patina- after all, this was someone’s family heirloom collection!
My confidence to take on the project came from a week-long intensive silversmithing class in the mountains of North Carolina a couple of years prior, where I learned the basics of silver work. After learning the behaviors of working with silver, I continued to experiment and develop my skills- applying them as often as possible in many pieces of jewelry for personal use, gifts and to sell.
The initial project of creating spoon rings proved to be very successful, and from there the desire and passion for working with vintage sterling silverware evolved. From simple spoon rings to bracelets, free forms, fantasy pieces and now animals and sea creatures, it has proven to be a personally rewarding experience- finding a “forgotten treasure” and repurposing it into a beautiful piece of wearable art is simply gratifying. There is just something special and unique about each and every one of these finished pieces.
For me, taking a fork or spoon and applying heat and physical manipulation to turn it into (again) something useful, is very rewarding. Many different techniques are used, hammering, cutting, heating, bending, filing, soldering, and polishing. Not all spoons or forks can become just any piece of jewelry. In most cases, the piece of silverware determines what the finished product will be. I embrace the challenge, and wonder about the tales each spoon or fork could tell if it were able to talk!