Here at GeekMom, we frequently share DIY cosplay ideas. Those include everything from the costume itself to the best accessories. Maybe you’re looking for a steampunk gypsy hairpiece or tips for Big Hero 6-themed family cosplay. How about the perfect jewelry to go along with your costume? Last week, I had an opportunity to interview Martha Lewis, crafter and jewelry designer. She repurposes older, and sometimes incomplete or broken, pieces of jewelry into new works of art appropriate for cosplay and everyday.
GeekMom Maryann: Hi Martha Lewis! Welcome to GeekMom, and thanks taking the time to talk to us about your passion for jewelry making.
Martha Lewis: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my jewelry.
GMM: When did your interest in jewelry making start?
ML: After 33 years working for the Henrico County Police and Sheriff Departments in Virginia, I retired on January 1, 2011. A month later, I signed up for a beginners jewelry-making class offered through the county for $6. I went to my first class, and two hours later, I left with five pieces of jewelry that I had just made. The skills I learned in the class evolved into a love for creating and designing one-of-a-kind jewelry items. I found that I have a real knack for recycling loose beads, broken bracelets, and tangled necklaces and morphing them into new meaning for each unique piece.
GMM: Who was your inspiration?
ML: My grandmother, Edith, and her namesake, my mother. They both loved colorful and shiny jewels. With the passing of each, I was afforded the privilege to be the new owner of their trinkets. Since they both grew up and lived on the York River, as did I, EdithYorkinspired was chosen as the name for my jewelry line.
GMM: I understand that you have memories of a favorite childhood piece that belonged to your grandmother. Can you tell us a bit more about that piece and why it speaks to you?
ML: When I was a child, my grandmother gave me an opal ring surrounded with rhinestones. I loved wearing it, even though it turned my finger green! I still have the ring, and I will always cherish it.
GMM: Can you tell us a bit more about where you find the pieces for your designs? Sometimes at local thrift stores, I see bags of broken pieces of jewelry. Do you snatch those up?
ML: I find a lot of vintage jewelry at estate sales and auctions. Typically, there will be a box or bag of broken and tangled jewelry up for sale. More often than not, I bid on the unknown. Once I get home and rummage through it, it’s always a surprise to see what I can actually use. I have gotten some pieces from thrift shops, but I find that most of their grab bags are costume jewelry.
GMM: How long does it take you to make your pieces?
ML: Since each piece is unique, that plays a big role in how long it takes to complete. If I finish a piece but am not pleased with it, I will break it down and start over.
GMM: Can you tell us a bit about what goes into the creative process to take a bag of loose beads, pendants, etc. and form a vision for the new piece?
ML: Usually, I will decide on a pendant, or main focal point and go from there. Coordinating beads, chains, charms, and a clasp are all decided on before I begin crafting.
GMM: Are you aware that some of the pieces you create fit in nicely with cosplay and steampunk? I’ve seen clocks, keys, owls, and other wonderful vintage items in your jewelry.
ML: When I first started this hobby, probably 75 percent of what I was making was related to or referred to as steampunk. I still make that style along with beaded items. Since each piece is created from a vision, it pretty much depends on my thought pattern at that moment.
GMM: I understand that you previously sold your jewelry at local consignment stores and through Bling of the Past. How can interested buyers view the current pieces you have for sale?
ML: In June 2015, I launched EdithYorkinspired on Etsy. I plan to add new items on a regular basis to hopefully capture repeat viewers and lots of sales.
GMM: Thanks for taking the time to talk to the GeekMom readers about your wonderfully unique jewelry items.
ML: It was my pleasure, and thank you for offering to spotlight EdithYorkinspired.
Like what you see? Martha would love to have you visit her EdithYorkinspired Etsy store.