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Shiny treasures

September 29, 2012
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - When she was trying to figure out a name for her Etsy shop, Beth Ward of Marshall heeded some advice from a friend of hers.

The friend said the word "magpie" right away, which is a bird that is attracted to bright objects.

"I think of me sifting through thrift stores looking for shiny things," she said. So Ward decided to name her shop Magpie's Market.

Ward said her interest in making jewelry began when she was a teen.

"It started when I was about 14," Ward said. "I would just see things in stores and magazines and think 'I could do that.'"

Her first jewelry works involved simple beading, just stringing beads and adding clasps. Five years ago, Ward started metalworking.

"I realized I liked the look of antique jewelry, but it was so expensive," she said.

So Ward would spend hours at the Goodwill or antique stores sifting through boxes of discarded jewelry to find pieces she could work with. She'd take a pendant from one item and the chain of another to create a new piece of jewelry with a vintage feel. She bought a pair of jewelry pliers and started making more pieces.

All she does, Ward said, is take items and alter them to make her jewelry.

"But with the same old memories and feelings," she said.

Ward has tried working with soldering jewelry pieces, as she's teaching herself how to do the craft. But mainly, she just uses her trusty jewelry pliers.

"It's my staple," she said.

She'll take things that are out of the ordinary, like a vacuum tube from an old radio, and incorporate it into a piece of jewelry. Ward also uses a lot of old clip-on earrings in her work, altering the ear wire.

"They're very easy to alter," Ward said.

Ward makes bracelets, headbands, earrings and necklaces from her "finds."

"You take some epoxy, imagination and fabric and you're good," Ward said.

She also goes to garage sales to look for vintage pieces.

"I love items from the '60s, that's probably my favorite era," Ward said. She said she likes the style and the glamor of that time period, just how feminine things were.

Ward also likes using natural stones as well, such as carnelian and amazonite in her jewelry. She's even used real acorns that she's preserved to make a piece of jewelry.

Ward said she's been looking at some colleges with a jewelry design program as she wants to continue making original pieces.



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