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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
First the pieces of glass are taken off and evaluated for what might work.
And then various charms, earrings, or small brooches are considered for what might play well with others:
And then a necklace is born:
Here we have a hand painted mother-of-pearl souvenir piece.
Which will look something like this when Betsy’s done her thing:
And this could be so much fun at the beach:
These little magazines are vintage Cracker Jack charms Before:
And After. How fun with a casual outfit:
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.
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.
And extended it with a length of pearl chain:
And then used the former watch clasp as part of the new necklace clasp (with pearl and antique charm!):
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:
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!”