Bold and refined, these wearable works of art also allude to the object's unspoken history.
The question of what to do with old things so that they can serve new and unexpected purposes is a perennial one for us TreeHuggers. Can plastic water bottles become new clothing? Might used tires become a building material? Or can perhaps discarded avocado pits and seafood shells transformed into cutlery and packaging?
The answer to these questions is, of course, yes -- and the same goes for discarded ceramic wares too. Aiming to find a second life for old dishes, Amsterdam-based artist Gésine Hackenberg converts vintage ceramics into stylish pieces of jewelry that make an bold statement.
But besides the noble goal of repurposing things, Hackenberg also explains that her pieces also speak to the underlying history and connection between the object and the user:
A basic theme in my work is placing ordinary objects of use in the perspective of jewellery. Objects of daily use often become intimately important and indispensable to people. What one keeps and owns, often contains an emotional value next to its practical function or worth. Moreover, it can be seen as a representation of its owner.
In my work, I explore how these kinds of objects can relate to the body and examine their coherence through the literal connection. Wearing jewellery on the body is the most intimate and direct form of showing this specific relationship to an object. [..] By [reusing and recycling material], I am isolating the various layers of meanings and associations that inhere shape, pattern and material of an object, in order to reflect these values in my jewellery.
By Hackenberg’s account, she began experimenting with unconventional materials as a way to break out of the expected framework of what defines a piece as 'jewelry'. Hackenberg often finds her ceramics in thrift shops, gravitating toward distinctive and traditional Delft patterns. She then uses a drilling machine to extract her ceramic 'beads', which are then transformed into wearable pieces of art. When not being worn, the pieces of jewelry are then meant to be paired with the plates that they are cut from -- a nice touch.
Ceramic or otherwise, it's always refreshing to see creative ways to recycle things that might be otherwise forgotten and collecting dust in a corner; to see more, visit Gésine Hackenberg, or see where her jewelry is available for purchase here.