In this month's Elle Magazine Fashion Insider, I read about a couple of companies who are fashioning jewelry from recycled materials. Thrive, a company based here in L.A., makes jewelry from electrical circuit boards, old hard drives and the like. It's not exactly my style, but I applaud the efforts of a company using 'found objects'--especially computer and electrical items. With a new upgrade of something every time we turn around, I imagine they have lots of components to choose from.
Lauren Manoogian, also featured in this month's Elle, is a designer that uses anything and everything from old office supplies to used airplane parts to make jewelry for her Manu line. The resulting pieces have a very ethnic, eclectic look to them. Some necklaces look like floral leis, while others look very African-inspired. It's nice to see that flashy is out and earth-friendly, low key pieces are becoming the latest style statement.
I prefer to purchase items directly from artisans or fair trade wholesalers and online outlets like Ten Thousand Villages and World Of Good. Most items are very moderately priced and purchasing from them makes a world of difference for artisans in other countries around the world.
This being May, these designers also reminded me of my strangest Mother's Day gift ever. When I was about 12 [too old to make a finger-painted Mother's Day card yet too young to have money to buy much of a gift], I decided to give my mom a handmade necklace.
Weeks before Mother's Day, I started growing out my fingernails. Finally, when they were long enough, I painted each fingernail with alternating stratas of red, white, and blue. Why those colors? I really don't know. I used to be patriotic, I guess. After the polish dried, I cut my nails-- and collected the colorful, crescent-shaped clippings. Using a needle, I poked holes into each clipping and strung them onto dental floss. This, as I remember, was extremely time-consuming and harder than I was expecting. The resulting necklace did actually look kinda cool. I was impressed with myself as I handed the gift to my mom. She unwrapped it with the usual present-opening glee.
My mother held the necklace up, examined its colorful shards, and exclaimed something like, "Wow, very unique. Very colorful!"
"They're my fingernails. See!," I pointed out to her, excitedly.
"Thank you!" she said, in a flat tone that meant she had no idea what to say or how to react.
Yes, I obviously spent alot of time on it. Yes, it was uniquely me. Yes, I was her only daughter. And yes, moms are supposed to accept Mother's Day gifts no matter what. It's the thought that counts. Luckily, my mom is an artist herself, a musician-- we're all a little odd--so instead of being repelled, she was actually intrigued by the piece and shall I say, "grotesquely impressed."
She actually wore it to work and got complimented on it, even. No one knew where she would've gotten such a piece of jewelry.
"My daughter made it for me," she would say and smile, certain that no one would ever guess that she was wearing her own daughter's painted fingernails around her neck. Even now, I don't know what I was thinking, but I'm sure that somewhere, my mother still has that necklace--although I doubt she's worn it since.
Perhaps, I could've made money had the style really taken off. I'd love the idea of people the world over, celebrities included, being photographed wearing my fabulously ethnic, unique jewelry and never knowing they were wearing human fingernails around their neck. THAT would be awesome! I'd laugh to myself as I skipped all the way to the bank.
As A Reminder: This Mother'sDay is Sunday, May 9, 2010