“Vinyl record jewelry … wait what!?”

Vinyl record jewellery handmade in Ireland

‘Vinyl record jewelry … wait what!?’

Upcycled vinyl record jewellery by Dana Jewellery
At my little stall in Sneem, Ring of Kerry. Fresh vinyl record delivery!

That is the most common reaction I get from people who stop to look at my work. I’ve been designing and handcrafting upcycled jewelry from vinyl records since 2010.

That spontaneous response comes in all languages in the summertime where I sell my jewelry at my little stall in Sneem, a lovely little village located on the touristy Ring of Kerry, between the ocean and the hills in Ireland.

‘How did you get that idea?’ is usually the question that comes after the initial reaction. People seem genuinely intrigued as I get it all the time. Now is time I sit down to write that post I’ve been meaning to write for aaage, about the process that took me to where I am today in my creative journey and about how the idea came. There is a little story behind it all after all.

A lil’ background is always useful
Like a lot of designer-makers, I was always creative and liked making things. Cliché but oh so true.  I studied fine arts for 2 years in college which I thought, at 17, was the best thing ever, along with living the apartment life with my friends for the first time of course. A few years later I went on to study international studies in university which, I guess, helped me develop some critical thinking. No it wasn’t done for nothing. Huh… who am I trying to convince here!?

Back then I was already making beaded jewelry out of stones and I was taking part in little markets here and there. The interest for making was there but was never taken to a serious level. Below are just a few examples of designs I made during that time. I had to dig deep to find these photos; sorry about the low quality. I find it pretty humbling to look at these now, it just feels like so long ago.

I finally did a 2 year technical program in jewelry making in Quebec, where I’m from, oui oui! It was quite challenging to say the least as there was a real emphasis on the technical side of things which makes sense I know; you don’t want your wedding ring to be all crooked and looking like it’s been down a drain. Oh, I also now know what a tenth of a millimeter looks like.

Below are a few of the more creative projects I’ve accomplished during the program. The flamboyant necklace got me the first prize for creativity in my year. Isn’t it a sweet little piece of artillery? If you look closely you can even spot some sweat and tears.

oeuvre réalisée collier 2

On the side, along with the jewelry program, I started designing and making my own designs from silver combined to wood which were sold in shops in Quebec.

I was also part of an artists coop as well as managing an outdoors boutique promoting artisans’ crafts where I learned a lot about the business side of things. Being surrounded by so much creativity and craftspeople who made things and art as a living was beyond stimulating.

All that happened in the space of about 10 years where I always took time to travel the world and also work. I believe that my background in fine arts combined to the technical jewelry making skills I had achieved were the perfect combination for that creative BOOM to happen.

Off to New Zealand
The creative spark happened in New Zealand. After graduating from the jewelry making program in 2009 and working the whole summer, I packed my bags and off I went to beautiful New Zealand. I can’t believe it’s nearly 10 years ago! I had 6 months and my plan was to buy a car and travel both islands and do a lot of hiking. And so I did and had an absolute epic time; below are just a few photos. I have such a massive crush on New Zealand that it’s just an excuse to go through my photos again really and share some with you. Please will you excuse me please thank you (see, I really am Canadian).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Are you still with me? Hang in there it’s coming.

See that blurry photo of a photo of a vinyl record bowl? vinyl record bowl

THAT IS IT. That is the moment.

BOOM.

It was taken at a recycling center somewhere on the south island near Fox Glacier. There were images of various upcycled objects on the wall and that one particularly grabbed my attention. I remember thinking “Oh cool!” as I had never seen a bowl made from a vinyl record before although I now know they had been around for some time at that point. I was intrigued that old records could be stripped off of their initial purpose and used as a material. There was so much potential out there for all these old unwanted records just sitting in attics gathering dust. That image stuck in my head and I promised myself on that day that I would experiment with records on my way back to Québec. Oh and I did.

Aaand the vinyl adventure began
The excitement was real when coming back to Quebec. ‘All the possibilities!’ I thought. I couldn’t wait to pick up my tools again and my first idea was to look up all the variations for “vinyl record jewelry” online to see what was out there. My head was buzzing with ideas and I wanted to develop my own thing, something different. I saw designs in black, made from the black part of the vinyl but nothing like what I had in mind.  The record labels were going to be put to good use and I had plans to combine it to different materials. I felt challenged at the beginning and then motivated to be able to come up with my own original designs that looked like nothing I had ever seen before. Oh I had ideas.

My first attempts were to combine record to silver, a material I was familiar with. It became a collection that was in a similar spirit to the wood and silver collection. It isn’t part of my current

Dana Jewellery unique handcrafted vinyl record jewellery

production but could always make a comeback because … aren’t silver and vinyl so pretty together? And later it was aluminium, a more eco-friendly metal that has other interesting qualities. The vinyl and aluminium collection is still in production although not listed online -another thing to put on the to-do list!

Don’t worry friends; the labels of the records were also put to good use. They really brought that colorful funky vibe to the jewelry and there you had it, the ‘Funky!’ collection was born. The resin really gave the jewelry its very distinctive look and it quickly became my original distinctive signature. “I’ve never seen anything like this!” is another comment I get all the time.

I started selling online in 2011 when I opened my first Etsy shop and I remember vividly the day my first sale came in; it was going to Paris! PARIS y’all! Below are a few current designs from the ‘Funky!’ collection, all one of a kind. That collection can be found here.

The use of resin slowly led the way for new ideas amongst them the incorporation of metallic details against the black of the vinyl.  The ‘A Hint of Metallic’ collection landed online in 2014 when my second Etsy shop was opened. After using mostly recycled black vinyl record for my designs, mint green and white vinyl also became staples of the bold -yet stylish- metallic collection. Below is a selection from the metallic collection which can be found here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From mint green and white, the range of colors of the ‘Funky!’ collection was also expanded.

 

Over the years, my designs were really ‘admired’; so much so that the signature concept I had developed was copied as well as the designs. With original ideas come copycats. Oh boy do I remember the first time it happened. It came from Hong Kong. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; it was like looking at my own work where everything was copied exactly, even the photo styling. They not only copied the concept but also the exact same designs.  That was my first taste of people blatantly taking the creative idea I had worked so hard to organically grow from scratch and try to make it their own. Huh… hello integrity?! It really felt like I was taken a part of my soul and it still does when it happens.

Being self employed -and my own boss- is so very precious and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s just what works for me and I’m so grateful that I found my thing. Yup it does take a lot of discipline and there can be some serious procrastination episodes but HEY it’s all part of being your own boss innit? I guess loving what you do is key here. It keeps you going and productive. And happy.

[ br(eakfast) + (l)unch ]www.brunch.com(3)

My head is always buzzing with ideas and the sketchbook is never too far. 2019 should bring some exciting new designs that I can’t wait to share with you.

Find my two unique vinyl record jewellery collections, all designed and handcrafted in Ireland right here:
‘Funky!’ collection: www.lescreationsdana.etsy.com
‘A Hint of Metallic’ collection: www.danajewellery.etsy.com

Hey, thanks for stopping by
Anne-Louise x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer isn’t over and pssst … more items have been marked down!

flamant
Summer isn’t over (please!). Image found over at http://www.paulette-magazine.com.

Nope nope nope summer sure isn’t over and here at DANA headquarters we love accessorizing with fresh pieces from the white acrylic collection. The bold hints of silver and gold are oh so pretty and summery against the ivory white acrylic. So guess what? I’ve made a selection from that collection that has been marked down 30%. Yay! I am making room in the studio to welcome new pieces in white. So “where can I find this sweet deal” you may be wondering? Head over to the website which is right here and you’ll find them along with many other items from the vinyl record jewelry collection that have been marked down. But have a look at what you may find; I’ve gathered some photos below.

 

 

 

02 chevron sale 06
The minimalist vinyl record chevron necklaces.

These minimalist chevron necklaces from the vinyl record jewelry collection have also been marked down because of slight irregularities at the backs. The fronts are still oh so pretty and will look very good on you.  Yes YOU!

02 chevron sale
White and coppery rose gold … looove!
03 sale 29 euro designs 04
In white and gold; stylish yet bold.

My new playground: the wild west of Ireland

cow agfaJust last week I was writing about my veggie garden. Well, I am now miles away from it, having moved a few days ago from the east to the wild west of Ireland (County Kerry). I was warned it is wild. Especially in the winter. As a matter of fact, there is an orange weather alert in effect for today. Woah! Orange only comes before red after all. I guess that’s what you get for moving so close to the wild Atlantic. sneem c I had a chance to explore my new backyard in dry and more comfortable weather the first few days I was here. To my delight, the Kerry Way, one of Ireland’s longest hiking trail at over 200 km, runs just behind our place. DSCN3179 resizedSo I got on my bike and couldn’t believe my eyes, just like a little girl realizing how vast and beautiful her new playground is. Exciting times ahead, in the rain, or in the dry.

I’d give it a 5.8 out of 10

I wouldn’t say that this year’s veggie garden failed but it wasn’t a great success either. I’d give it a 5.8 out of 10. IMG_1217A combination of late sowing (due to being away for a while) and the fierce work of millions of slugs contributed to making this adventure a lil’ disappointing. The carrot and radish shoots were simply annihilated as soon as they dared showing their fresh little heads into the world. And believe me friends, broken eggshells don’t work against slugs. I’ve seen them crawling over the shells no problemo at all as if it was butter. Well, not quite but nearly.image

The garlic kind of came as a great surprise though as the cloves had been  into the soil in the spring of 2014 and never came out that year. I know, you’re supposed to bury them into the ground on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest -or something like that- but we thought “hey! we’ll give it a go and see what happens!”. They sure are tough little things and survived 6 weeks of no watering while we were away! YAY GARLIC! IMG_1223 Just like garlic, the chives came back from the dead without me having to do anything. Perfect stuff for the lazy gardener. And it is oh so beautifully purple.

image

Onions are never a problem, or are they? It is my 2nd year growing them and they always look quite happy. Can’t wait to be using them in my culinary adventures (I’m thinking onion bhajis mmm). image

You see the lettuce heads there? Yeah, go get your magnifying glass. Well, these are still quite small but I do manage to get a few leaves from various plants every few days, before the slugs eat them completely.image

The glorious and delicious nasturtiums are taking over the tomatoes. I love these flowers’ vibrant colors, ranging from yellow to deep orange to fiery red. These flowers are sure to cheer up any sad looking salad. Also perfect for the lazy gardener as they require no attention at all. imageLet’s end this with the greatest success; the tomatoes! They are sweet, juicy and delicious and don’t they look so good against the white shed wall?

I’m overall positive about this year’s crop. One can’t expect miracles when sowing happens in a rush at the end of June and when you have all the slugs of the world against you. So I’m happy. And so are they. The slugs. Again. Sorry.

I’m looking for a house

IMG_1086
That’s me, looking for a house, in County Kerry.

And this is where my (our) quest took me (us); in County Kerry, in the wild West of Ireland. Well, I’m not alone on this adventure; my man is on it as well. But I’ll keep using the first person. Just because.

IMG_1087 (2)
A few sheep, of course.

IMG_1089As some of you already know, I live in county Wexford, Ireland. Ireland, yeah! When Ireland is mentioned, people will often have this romantic idea of sheep peacefully grazing on endless rolling green hills. A leprechaun might even come running through that mental image cheerfully screaming a loud “top of the morning to you!”. That’s nice and I guess, as an expat living here, that’s unconsciously -or not- what I’m going for. 

IMG_1088
The green rolling hills and the narrow roads. Awhh so pastoral.

Come on! Look at these hills! And the sheep! My boyfriend (Irish) doesn’t understand my fascination with sheep. They are everywhere here. I find them kind of exotic and fun to look at as we don’t have them in such an overwhelming number in Quebec. Yep, I still take pictures of sheep. And I have learned that sheep will never take an “s”; one sheep, two sheep (English isn’t my first language, please forgive me).

IMG_1080 (1)
A place called Killorglin. Hint: that’s not where I’m going to live. My motto for that picture? “More sky, less cars”.

So have I found a house? Have I come to the right place? I think it’s the right place but will I find a house? I might let you know in the next episode. Or not (I’m not so good at this blogging thing), but you’ll find out eventually. Just as you do in this video. So random, I know, but I couldn’t help it.

The art of Erika Iris Simmons

The art of Erika Iris Simmons

I remember being very impressed the first time I was introduced to Erika Iris Simmons’ work because I had never seen art like this before. This portrait of Audrey Hepburn is made from an old movie reel. Erika, who is a self-taught artist, also works with cassette tapes as well as other materials- that are skillfully turned into beautiful portraits. Learn more about her work here: http://iri5.com/

The pretty -handmade- things, in red

The pretty -handmade- things, in red

It’s autumn and the weather can get quite nasty around here. Today was a cold and windy and grey day, which probably influenced my picks, in hot vibrant red. You will find the links to these gorgeous handcrafted accessories right here:

1. Rockabilly headband by Maple and Oak Designs in Calgary. Find it here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/168846334/dolly-bow-rockabilly-headband-red-white?ref=pr_shop
2. Polka dot 14 mm studs by me -Les Creations d’Ana-! Right here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/160136130/red-polka-dot-earrings-pin-up-jewelry?ref=shop_home_feat
3. Felted leaf pin brooch by Patricija’s Garden in Lithuania. Here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/108126564/felted-leaf-pin-brooch-red-drop-made-to?ref=shop_home_active
4. Hand knit cowl scarf by All So Cute from Turkey. Here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AllSoCute?section_id=12573067

Ain’t No Cure For Love

Do you like / love / worship Leonard Cohen’s poetry/music ? Well, you might like this “Ain’t No Cure For Love” cover from Ane Brun. I heard it for the first time last night and it’s been playing here in the studio -in loop, or almost- since then.

I had been wondering for weeks now “How, -how- the hell does one start a blog? What does a first blog entry looks like?” Blogs are so personal. But still, the first entry is intimidating. Well, it is! There ain’t no “right” recipe for a first blog entry I don’t think. So this is as spontaneous as spontaneous can be. So, hope you enjoy it. Or maybe not. It is so personal.