The Thing About Betsy

Friend Silver

We all need that thing, don’t we? That thing that takes us away from the humdrum or even difficult routines of life and reinvigorates us to keep on keeping on. For some of us, it might be hitting the gym or practicing meditation. For others, the thing is awakening and exploring the creative process within – be it by painting, gardening, writing, or crafting something beautiful out of cast-offs. Which leads me to tell you about Betsy, the Glamour Chick, and some of her creations.

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Pay special attention to Betsy’s necklace. More on that later.

A little backstory here:

One of the Ladies Who Lunch is Dorothy Jane, an avid auction-goer and proprietor of an antiques booth here in Richmond. Dorothy and I have often discussed what a lifesaver the creative process is, although we explore it in different ways. I always enjoy seeing what Dorothy is wearing; she is one of those women with a great sense of style. Lately she’s been sporting some really fun and unusual necklaces, and it turns out they are handcrafted by her daughter, Betsy. She, like her mother, sees potential in discarded bits and bobs that the rest of us might overlook. So here goes…..I want to show you some of Betsy’s one-of-a-kind creations.

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Among other sources like eBay, Betsy goes to auctions and buys box lots, or “findings”, of old jewelry which is what you see above. I wouldn’t even know where to start, would you? Betsy sees a treasure trove of possibilities.

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Individual items pulled from the pile inspire Betsy.

Reducing Betsy’s talent to a procedure is not doing her any justice, but essentially she takes a piece, deconstructs it, reconstructs it into what she wants, embellishes it, and voila:

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An old brooch is converted into a necklace.

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This was an antique mourning pin. It is signed by the artist and Betsy has mounted it onto rose gold to bring out the color of the flowers.

 

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A vintage cameo is embellished with just the right thing: pearls.

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Here a vintage French shoe buckle gets a pearly chain.

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We’re pretty sure this was a “vinaigrette” or some bauble hanging off a lady’s chatelaine. The top screws off and usually these were filled with vinegar to sniff when feeling one of those dratted fainting spells coming on. In any case, it’s a lovely necklace.

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A crystal pendant from a chandelier is adorned with charms.

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Here an antique French shoe buckle is embellished with an earring. And a chain to match, of course.

And if that is not impressive enough, gaze upon this Murano glass lamp which was sitting in an antiques mall. Betsy’s son saw it and, knowing his mother, he brought it home.  Did she need more lighting?  No, but she sees the possibility of necklaces herein. You’ve got to be kidding, I say.

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First the pieces of glass are taken off and evaluated for what might work.

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Hmmmm, what to do with these?

And then various charms, earrings, or small brooches are considered for what might play well with others:

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Antique charms. I especially like the monogrammed ones.

And then a necklace is born:

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Adorned with antique charms and jewelry bits.

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Dorothy Jane naturally has a coordinating scarf with her Glamour Chick creation.

Here we have a hand painted mother-of-pearl souvenir piece.

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Which will look something like this when Betsy’s done her thing:

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And this could be so much fun at the beach:

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The fish is vintage jewelry store stock.

These little magazines are vintage Cracker Jack charms Before:

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And After. How fun with a casual outfit:

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This is an Art Nouveau-style belt buckle which Betsy has used as the focal point on a strand of old glass beads from a broken family necklace.

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One of Betsy’s personal favorites is also one of mine. She transformed her grandmother’s circa 1920 wristwatch into a necklace. She hung the watch face from the remarkably dainty and delicate watchband.

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And extended it with a length of pearl chain:

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And then used the former watch clasp as part of the new necklace clasp (with pearl and antique charm!):

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When I was casting about wondering what on earth to give The Bossy One for her big 5-0, inspiration struck when I saw this:

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Now happily residing in Denver!

I thought the watch face was a great symbol for a benchmark birthday, don’t you?

Here’s the hard part though. You can’t just say, “Hey Betsy, make me one of those.” No, indeed. Each piece is handcrafted, completely original, and totally dependent on whatever pieces are on hand at the time. Which makes each one even more special, doesn’t it?

Betsy sells her wares under the name “Glamour Chick” at a wonderful home accessory, furniture, and gift shop right here in Richmond named “Gather.” For those of you that can’t just pop right over, I’m sure they ‘d be more than happy to help you with what might be available at the time.

And Betsy, many thanks for a wonderful afternoon together with you and Dorothy Jane. It was such a pleasure to have a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the mechanics of what you do, but the real magic is in your talent and creative eye! Keep on hitting those auctions, girl!

What about you? What is your “thing?” How do you unplug from the day-to-day and explore that other side of you? I’d love to hear from you!

And many thanks to you for reading and allowing me to express my “Thing!”

Barbara

 

 

 

 

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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34 Responses to The Thing About Betsy

  1. carolwallace says:

    Wow! So envious of Betsy’s eye and inventiveness. That lamp-into-necklace transformation was like attic Cinderella! Thanks for showing us these treasures!

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  2. What inspired and unique pieces Betsy creates! Thank you for highlighting her work. WG

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  3. Jeanie says:

    Betsy is very creative and talented. That goes without saying. I am always curious about what stories many of those old pieces of jewelry, etc. could tell. I am sure we would be fascinated.
    Thank you for sharing, Barb.

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  4. dorothy says:

    You did such an outstanding interview of Betsy and her creations. We so enjoyed the afternoon with you and am impressed with your own creative talent, we are expecting novels to be coming out of the door at any moment, thank you for sharing with all Betsy’s talent and your very kind words about me. Creative juices start flowing around here before the crack of dawn (sometimes unfortunately) but we never found the brain OFF button. Everybody has a creative gene..sometimes it’s in hiding for years and it its ahead in crazy ways. . Thanks for sharing your talents with all of us.

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    • I agree, Dorothy. We all have our thing and life is about the exploration and development of whatever that might be. No novels for me; I’m too lazy!!! That would be actual work and I want no part of that right now. Although the story of an Attic Cinderella might be compelling……. OK, so when do I get write about YOU?

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  5. dorothy says:

    Maybe when I do my space for the summer season we can meet among the finds and spend the time on how to assemble it all to be inviting. You have that talent as well. Look forward to that.

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  6. Sue Mayo says:

    Like Mother, like daughter. They both have their own special talents. I have a few of Betsy’s early creations made from buttons. Love them……….I’m still looking for my talents.

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  7. dorothy says:

    Yes Sue..you are David Letterman material. Thanks for the comments.

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  8. Dianna says:

    Loved reading this. Jewelry repurposed from vintage items is so appealing to me, although I have NOTHING like that…..yet! I discovered a booth last month at an antique shop in Mechanicsville. The shop is Through The Garden Gate, and the booth is Updating Yesterday. I’m anxious to go back with my friend. Something tells me we won’t be leaving empty-handed!

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    • Falling into the category of “It’s a Small World”, Dorothy, Betsy’s mother, had a booth at Through The Garden Gate until just a few months ago. Glad you enjoyed reading about the jewelry and hope you find something exciting on your next trip.

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      • Dianna says:

        How about that?? I wondered if you knew of any connections! I’m looking forward to purchasing my first piece of vintage jewelry….you may just be responsible! (But don’t worry, I won’t tell my hubby….!)

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  9. dorothy says:

    There’s a shop called Gather off Mt. Herman Rd. Near Midlothian that carries her jewelry. The neatest place and you can order box lunches. Call ahead..melissa carr is owner and such a great artist herself.

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  10. Betsy says:

    Loved the article and Really enjoyed spending the afternoon with you and Dorothy Jane.We need to get together more often and let the creative juices flow!!! thanks again for the support!!Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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    • Thanks for sharing your talents with us! You have something special, Betsy, and I’m happy to toot your horn a bit! I’ve had so much feedback – privately and here – keep up the good work.

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  11. That is one creative woman! Gives the word “upcycling” a new cheerleader 🙂

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  12. Sheryl says:

    The jewelry that Betsy creates is awesome. It is really wonderful how she repurposes old jewelry to give it a new look.

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  13. Love Gather, and now I know who supplies the unique jewelry. Thanks for sharing, Barbara. I always love reading about creatives and their processes.

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  14. Sandra says:

    Such beautiful jewellery. ( we English do spell some words differently.) 🙂

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  15. joannesisco says:

    OH MY!!! Her stuff is amazing!!! Thanks for sharing this. You’re right … the watch is beautiful!!

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  16. Eliza Waters says:

    Dor sent me the link to your post – Wow, what a cool artist Betsy is. Her creations are truly unique and beautiful. Great profile – I’m accumulating a whole list of must-see places in VA between all you folks down there! 🙂

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