Google+ The Art of Friendly Plastic: Leather, Vintage Finds and Friendly Plastic - Jewelry that comes full circle

Monday, February 18, 2013

Leather, Vintage Finds and Friendly Plastic - Jewelry that comes full circle

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I try my best to keep up with craft trends in fashion and in jewelry making.  While I'm not necessarily a fashionista, I do find that keeping on top of color trends does help my creativity in making jewelry.

I've noticed an up swing in combining metal findings with leather components.  The result is an eclectic mix of urban chic with a little country western vibe.  This style of jewelry is so versatile, it can be elegant when dressed up and yet it can have a very comfortable casual look - that's slightly on the upscale side.

This jewelry though, also tells a story, and it's one that I'm quite proud of.

So let's hop on a virtual plane and take a virtual trip to.....AFRICA!

Last May, my husband and I along with some friends went to Africa on Safari.  I was just a tag-along for the ride as it was Dana's dream to hunt Africa.  To see the conditions that the natives live in there is really an eye opener - it's very poor! Many live on just $80 a month.  Public schools are expensive and parents have to pay tuition for their children to attend.  

Those children of parents who can not afford tuition attend bush schools provided by the government. 

These schools are primitive, over crowded and operate on little. One student in particular didn't even have a chair to sit on and instead sat the whole day on a metal bar in front of one of the desks.  (he now has a chair - I couldn't bear the thought of that!) 

The kids do not go home at night, instead they push their desks aside and sleep in a three room building along with 117 other kids. They only see their parents two days a month.   Can you imagine sharing your bedroom with about 40 other people a night? on the floor? 

 It was an eye opener for me, that's for sure!

They grow their own food in a garden, but with very little rain, it's really not much of a garden.  So they eat the same meal - three times a day and it's called Braaipap or POP for short.  Basically it's a mush like porridge.

The goverment provides funds for 50 students at this school, but there are 117.  Near the end of our stay in Africa, we toured this school and donated the meat from the hunt.  The day we visited we personally brought a kudu and a gemsbuk while the other meat stayed at Quagga Safari until this was eaten as they have no means of refrigeration.  The look on these kids faces when they saw the meat is now forever glued into my memory.

Here's a 12 minute video documentary that I made of the trip to the Bush school for you to see in finer detail...then you'll understand the next phase of the story....

I left the bush school that day overwhelmed with tears, of joy, of sorrow .....I knew I could make a difference.....a least in a small way....

Now, come back to the states, it's 9 months later and the hide from the same animals that we donated to the bush school have arrived.  I've not worked with leather much before, but in doing so, I've reminded of that day that is so etched in permanent marker in my memory.  To be thankful for the simple things in life and to be satisfied with sustenance and covering just as those kids were.
It's come full circle - the hunt, the kids, the jewelry and now I'll use some of these proceeds to send back to the kids there at that school.  One day I hope to return and stay longer and maybe even be their art teacher! How cool would that be?!!!!

I'm going out there on a limb sharing this very personal story.  It's not about the hunt, it's about giving back to the community where you're at.  I strive to do that with all my artwork.  I love the stories, I love the memories.  I do that when I make jewelry and I share loads and loads of valuable information, project ideas and tips to help you be successful in your artful life.  Thanks for listening to my story.

In the jewelry photo's I've combined Jana's Fracture and fusion technique with metal brass embellishments and kudu leather for an upscale look.

Friendly Plastic is an excellent choice to create gorgeous focal pieces.  Why not try it using some of the technique tutorials below?

Linda Peterson is compensated and endorsed by AMACO. The guests features may or may not have any affiliation with AMACO.

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