Monday, January 24, 2011

The origins of Bracelet Workshop

I have a new Etsy shop- called "Bracelet workshop".
For 10 years or more I've been making a particular type of bracelet- They are made of many different bead like components (that I design and craft by hand) and strung on a leather bracelet strap with a buckle closure.

I started making them when I was in Italy,
I came up with the idea in a funny way- first, I have to say I have never been able to wear bracelets- they drove me crazy- I just simply disliked having metal on my wrists. Well, one day I noticed that my cat's collar was looking a bit scruffy...I decided that I needed to replace it- so (instead of measuring it) I put it on my wrist to remind myself to go buy a new one.
My sweet kitty, "Chet" 1991-2002

And then I went on my way, tra la la throughout my day...going to the workshop, stopping at the Irish Pub for a Guinness on the way home (only a wee one, I'm not much of a drinker), doing some errands...then home, dinner, and sleep.

The next morning, I realised that I had worn that silly cat collar all day and night- never remembering it was even there. HMMMMMMM, interesting...that got my little metalsmith's mind clicking away...

Maybe it wasn't the bracelet that I disliked on my wrist- it was a matter more of comfort and flexibility.. after all, the cat collar did have studs of metal on it- but it didn't bother me at all!
hmmm, veddy intervesting! I started to think of how I could use this information in designing comfortable, wearable bracelets.Then I had my ah-hah moment.....

I guess being away from the southwest gave me permission to do something so blatantly southwestern. *shrug* who knows-
close up of buckle closure and concho slide backings on a "vegan"rubber strap bracelet

basically, I thought of a riff on a concho belt- using the same type of "slide" backing that enables the piece to be slid onto a belt. This would make the pieces independant of each other, allowing space for leather (or rubber/ fabric) to break up the metal backings- making the bracelet less "metal" feeling (while still being very much metal on the front side of the bracelet)plus, it added the flexibility I loved, and the leather (which reminded me of my many years as a horse back rider).Additionally, the buckle closure on the bracelet made it possible for these bracelets to be completely adjustable for most sizes of wrists.
some components and straps available at "braceletworkshop" on etsy

The components that make up these bracelets became "slide bead" conchos- I make them as little sculptures, sketches, technical explorations....they are unique to themselves, and I still find them to be incredibly satisfying to make, because each one of the handmade ones are an exploration. (either technical , material or artistic) 

Whew- I just wanted to do a short blog post today! LOL-
 all of this origins of the bracelet is my way of introducing my latest project- my new store "Bracelet Workshop" ( ) Where I am now selling my bracelet straps with buckles and slide bead concho components separately, as Build-your-own bracelets.
I'm excited about this venture- I think that the store is unique and will appeal to many people- bead collectors, artists, people searching for unique gifts...and anyone who wants to have a truly unique piece of designer jewelry that they helped design themselves.

OK, I've had enough typing today- I'm heading to the studio to make some cool stuff-
please feel free to share this blog post on twitter/facebook and help me get the word out about my new shop- I'd really appreciate it
ciao for now- Maureen BZ

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