Inspiration is born, and a new story begins.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, artist Julie Schnoll of Julie Schnoll Designs scours antique shops and flea markets for vintage buttons, earrings, sweater clips, and shoe clips. As she preserves the integrity of the old pieces, she incorporates modern elements to create one-of-a-kind bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.
“My favorite thing is to find some forgotten item, research its origin, and then incorporate it into something completely different,” she said.
Each salvaged piece comes with a story – a history that may be known or can only be imagined. Inspiration is born, and a new story begins.
Some clients bring old jewelry that has been sitting in a box for years, having belonged to a close relative who passed away.
“We sit down and talk about the piece, the person they want it to be made for, the meaning of the person who owned it, and come up with a plan to create something new and exciting. It is rewarding to see a client able to enjoy and wear the same piece of jewelry she remembered her mother wearing when she was younger,” Schnoll said.
Nostalgia drives Schnoll to buy repurposed items herself. Take this vintage tin that holds her knitting supplies.
“When I was a kid, Charles Chips would deliver to our house in Massachusetts,” Schnoll said. “I spotted this vintage tin at a flea market 10 years ago, and it brings back great memories every time I see it.”
Most likely, you won’t need to look far to find an item with repurposing potential in your own home. My husband recently removed our old, weathered mailbox from its post and tossed it in the recycling bin. Inspired by the creative souls interviewed in this article, I marched to the garage and retrieved my rusty treasure.
It will make a great birdhouse.