Welcome to another installment of my blog series Etsy Finds! (You can find last month's Etsy Finds post here.) Today I am featuring artist Juliet Ames of The Broken Plate Pendant Company! Juliet makes unique jewelry designs and home goods out of broken china. The story of how she got started is an interesting one. After creating a mosaic out of broken china plates, Juliet decided to repurpose some of the leftover broken plate shards into a pendant necklace; and the rest is history!
Juliet was kind enough to answer some questions for me to share here so we can get to know her better!
1. What made you decide to pursue art?
I've always been creative, and not good at much else. Discovered the quickest track out of college was to pursue craft (after being a photo major during a time when digital was making my darkroom training obsolete.)
2. How did you get started in crafting items from broken china?
In a moment of crafting mania post college, I made a mosaic mailbox from a broken plate that I found at a thrift store. I had a lot of shards left over that were too pretty to toss, so I wrapped it in solder and made it into a necklace. I started getting orders the very next day.
3. Where do you find all the china for your projects?
I go to thrift stores and flea markets a lot. Some just show up on my porch.
4. What do you draw inspiration from?
I enjoy art with irony and humor. Art is a pretty silly profession, so I think it's important to not take it too seriously.
5. Do you have any advice for other creative entrepreneurs?
Take good photos (or pay someone to take good photos). Don't bother trying to sell art at a food or wine festival.
6. What are you working on next?
I am working on a series of butcher charts made of broken plates. Thinks: a patchwork of patter making up a cow. I'm enjoying making less jewelry and more 2D art.
7. What are some of your favorite Etsy artists?
Here are a few that just popped up in my favorites.
You can read more about Juliet on her Etsy site here.
I discovered Juliet's work in my search for the perfect 2nd wedding anniversary gift. The traditional themed 2nd anniversary gift is cotton. Last month I wrote about how Moroccan wedding blankets would make an excellent cotton anniversary gift, but in the end I decided to go in a different direction with the modern theme. The modern themed 2nd anniversary gift is China. My extensive search led me to Juliet's work and I knew I had found something special!
I decided that I wanted to purchase one of her framed initial china pieces. I thought that would be a wonderful sentimental gift that would make my husband smile. Juliet was great throughout the whole process. I told her what color china I had in mind (blue and white of course) and she immediately told me she had willow patterned china in her collection. Not knowing what pattern that was, I looked it up and it was gorgeous.
Here is the pattern in blue and white as well as a multi-colored pattern.
Turns out there is a legend behind the distinctive willow pattern. A wealthy man's daughter was betrothed to a powerful Duke, but the daughter was in love with her fathers humble assistant. The father was enraged and built a high fence around his property to keep the lovers apart. The night before the daughter was supposed to marry the Duke, she and the assistant ran away together and lived for many happy years. Eventually the Duke found the two and sent soldiers to kill them. However as the story goes, the Gods transformed the lovers into a pair of doves so they could fly away and be together forever (read more about the history behind the willow pattern here). I really like the story behind the china pattern. The theme that love can overcome anything life throws at you is a good one to remember. It adds another important sentiment in addition to a reminder of our nuptials!
The finished piece turned out beautifully and my husband loved it! The frame includes hardware to hang on the wall, but I liked how it looked in my built-ins. I smile at it every time I walk by!
Thanks again Juliet for the wonderful china art piece! It was a pleasure working with you on it.
There are many other great pieces in Juliet's shop that would make good gifts. And what is amazing is that she can customize any item just for you. You can request a certain color scheme and she will share what options she has. Perhaps you have family heirloom china and you are looking to repurpose it - she can do that too! The possibilities are endless.
These earrings are so pretty.
Such unique necklaces that would be one of a kind.
China cuff links would also make a wonderful 2nd wedding anniversary gift! I picked out a pair to give my husband along with the framed china initial art piece and he loved them!
Here is another example of one of Juliet's lovely framed china initial art pieces. The customization options really are limitless.
You can also customize a framed china state of your choice! This Texas one is particularly lovely. A gallery wall of numerous states that hold specific significance would be a great gift.
Love these wine stoppers! Such a cool idea.
Take a look at Juliet's Etsy shop for yourself. She has many wonderful item in stock including jewelry and home items such as 2D art. Those wine stoppers are gorgeous! They would make a unique wedding gift. Plus, many items are 30% off right now- go check it out!