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Scrounging for materials and tools is a central part of my studio practice, and there are great bargains to be found! In the past year, I’ve purchased a nice amount of silver for about $2/ounce, received several pounds of enamels, and refurbished hundreds of rusty chasing tools. Luck has a lot of influence, and the generosity of donors cannot be understated, but there are also strategies involved to help make oneself luckier as well. This blog will also promote recycling and reusing by encouraging artists to donate or sell excess tools or materials to others who need it.
Latest Activity: Jan 4, 2017
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A friend just sent me a link to a group of kids in Paraguay who live in a landfill, and have made an orchestra from trash they found. They sound beautiful.
It made me cry.
I love the patina that comes from using a silver plate tray someone gave to the thrift store because it had no value to them, and then, turn it into a beautiful brooch that will make someone happy. It is hard work to use this type of metal because it doesn't "behave" well. Even worse, once I get a patina I love, I have to use cold connections from then on out. I just posted a lot of images of new work made almost will all re purposed metal.
Thanks Charity, after the whole "Craiglist Killer" movie, I kind of stopped watching that site for ads. I guess I watch too many movies! ;)
The other thing I found helpful is my local Jeweler's Supply. They are a small store, but they buy tools in Lots from retired jewelers & stores going out of business. I have found some great old clamps for pennies from browsing their table of used tools. They often get larger machines in for a steal, too. I also like to give them my business when I can, as they will dicker prices to stay competitive. As a small business owner myself, I am really starting to understand what it means to buy local to support my community.
Charity, My schedule is the same as yours and sometimes I am lucky as well. I once ignored a post because there was no mention of jewelry in the listing at all. A few days later I checked it out and found that jewelry had been misspelled and when I opened it there were several tools that I was able to acquire.
It takes diligence and a bit of luck!
I am very interested in how you were able to pick up sterling at such a great price, and where you even FIND these buys! Please send me some information on where to look. I feel that most Ebay sellers are looking to get more for the silver than it's worth, and I never run into great sterling buys like this. With all the sellers out there, you don't know who you can trust. I combed the antique malls looking for a ring, I had a client request a spoon ring, and the sellers there had marked their rings up so high when silver went up, it was ridiculous. I'm going to actually fabricate this "spoon Ring" design myself, because they are so high. Any info on how to find cheap sterling safely would be most welcome!
My husband is a locksmith, so there is a never ending supply of miss-cut & old keys, door parts, door handle parts, etc. I'm still working on that "perfect idea" to come along for those keys. Lock parts are fascinating to me too, and I have BOXES of them in our garage.
Hubby gets irritated when we are walking along, "all dressed up" to go on an outing, and yet I will still stop to pick up what he calls " dirty junk", but it's something I can't stop. Eventually I will have a use for that found item!
I have found that a regular browse of the local antique malls can be a gold mine for cheap antique tools, and I try to always get down to the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil Swap Meet each year. GREAT buys on tools can be found there, too.
Toledo has an architectural scrap merchant called "Art & Architecture", there is a ton of things to look through, but often they are a bit pricey. I am always searching for bargains, and sometimes it's easy to waste away the hours just looking.
And I AM a tool junky, too. Something that began in school and just won't let me go. This will be a fun group!
It's our annual sale weekend in Snohomish - "Antique Capital of the Northwest" -there are always great finds - even tho it's "upscale scrounging"!!
Great score Vicki!
I am so glad to see this group started. We don't have a Construction Junction in the Cleveland area, but there are Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores that have new and used construction materials. There is also a group called Zero Landfill that I am addicted to. They recycle outdated interior design sample materails such as tile and flooring, carpet, fabrics, glass, and other random goodies.
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