Betsy Berberbian has a wonderful line of unique upcycled jewelry. She sees beauty in used circuit boards! Check out her interview below.
1. Tell us your story…How did you get to where you are now as an artist?
I got to where I am today by walking on two different roads, the jewelry road and the painting road. The jewelry road is where I recycle, so I’ll start there. I don’t think of the jewelry I make as art, to me its a craft. I have always loved jewelry and grew up in a family of jewelry loving women. My mother,grandmother and aunts always wore big earrings, lots of bracelets and necklaces and huge rings…all the time. (They all had big hair too, but that is another story) Their jewelry was noisy ..lots of bangles and charm bracelets making that ‘tinkling’ noise when they moved their hands. Jewelry was collected and worn by all the women in my family and I caught the bug at an early age. When some of the family jewelry was handed down to me I started to re-work it or I would take it apart and make new, more modern looking jewelry. We all repaired and re-worked jewelry, so my jewelry thing started at a very early age.
2. Why do you reuse material?
I started using re cycled materials ages ago when I couldn’t always afford to buy new findings or stones. I would look around and make something from what I already had. I never thought it would be in style to do this. I started using the circuits for jewelry when a girl friend of mine was moving and she gave me tons of circuits and findings she didn’t want anymore.She knew I was a ‘waste not want not’ person and thought I would make proper use of them. I made jewelry from these circuits and then started cutting my own circuits from old computers…..Violets new Vintage was born. I do use recycled materials to make a statement against waste. Our society wants us to buy NEW stuff all day long and I reject ‘serial shopping’ as a past time.
3. How do you come up with ideas for creative reuse?
I always have creative ideas…a glass is a template if you turn it over and use it to make a circle. I don’t run out of ideas and love to experiment. If you sand a circuit you can get down to the copper and there are interesting patterns there that I am working on now. Experimenting leads to new ideas and designs.
4. What kind of reactions do you get to your work? Any memorable experience?
I get positive reactions from the circuit jewelry, but it isn’t for everyone. Most of my friends don’t like it and I make them more classic style jewelry, sparkly stuff. My most memorable experiences were from people who gave my circuit jewelry as gifts and made their sons or husbands happy. They wrote to tell me that the ceramic circuit jewelry was a big hit on Christmas.
5. What advice do you have for anyone interested in creatively reusing something?
My advice is to be bold and experiment with your materials. Spend time abusing it, painting it, bending it…see what happens. Also, give yourself room to work. having a space to be creative in is essential. (be messy)
6. What inspires your work?
I am inspired by the intricate or linear patterns in the circuits. I look at them with a painterly eye.
7. Any favorite artists?
Rene’ Lalique is my favorite jewelry artist. His dragon fly designs are incredible.
8. Where do you want to be in 5 years as an artist?
In five years I would like to have completed a huge body of work; paintings and jewelry. I would like this work to surprise me and every one who looks at it.
For more ifnormation about Betsy B. and her Violets New Vintage products, click below: