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Our Handcrafted Jewelry Process and Collections in our Philadelphia Shop!

After years of working with local jewelers who cast, finished, and sized our jewels, which was after years of my finishing the jewelry in our dining room, we finally set up our own jewelry shop at the Peg and Awl building! In addition to designing the jewelry and packaging, we now do the entire lost wax casting process in house – making molds, waxes, casting, and finishing!

Jewelry remains a Peg and Awl outlier (we all need outliers!) as it is not useful like our other objects are useful. It is symbolic, representative, adorning, and meant to be part of an ongoing narrative. I am drawn to making jewelry as objects that continually flow through human hands, like objects at a flea market – all symbolism and storytelling and marks of use from imagined pasts and futures.

We love digging into history and happenstance for our collections, and have been working on a few tricky ideas which we hope to be able to share with you soon! Until then, peak inside our workshop and collections.

Rubber molds.
Waxes of Foundlings Earrings!
Flasks for plaster molds.
Nitrogen regulator to keep the casting operator oxygen-free!
Getting ready to cast!
Our first in-house silver tree!
Liver of Sulfer to blacken the details. How to (re)oxidize your jewelry below.*
Ready for finishing and polishing. The details will hold onto the black/oxidized finish.
Polishing the insides of the rings. 
Stamping the Peg and Awl mark in our rings!
Finished pendants from our Botanical Collection.
Epic Desk Caddy atop my first and still-used jeweler’s bench — a gift from my dad after receiving a high school scholarship for a summer art program at Moore!

Foundlings Collection

Foundlings is a collection that has come to life through the layering of hands that make. 

One end-of-winter morning, we ventured out into the last grey of the season-leaving, amongst sagging time-worn tables that house trash and magic. Flea markets are often secret repositories of history, and we were about to dive backwards some 200 years, as sparkly creatures, patiently waiting out their decades of idleness, nearly rose up from their tattered box to greet us. Farm animals, imagined animals, flowers, and other wonders of the natural world – painted by unknown hands in an unknown time, fairly pulsed with scintillating energy upon nests of scritchy, scratchy handwritten ledgers, lessons, and language, impeccably penned by generations past.

Our discovery of these mischievous old fellows has led to yet another transformation. A select few have been carved and cast to retain their child-like style and to celebrate the expressional whimsy of each nurtured creature.

Terran Necklace, a tulip!
The original flower ledger art that we discovered at a flea market.
Adding details to the cat creature Ash from clay for molds.
Sculpted cat face models of Foundlings Earrings.
The original tapir that we named Fern.
Fern Earrings cast from the found artwork.
I love working on the packaging for jewelry, ‘tis where we add the layers of story!
Sketching the design for the Foundlings booklet.
Foundlings packaging in the works.
Dip pen on this lavish paper, a little bleedy, a lot magic!
Foundlings, boxed! The perfect addition of the little jewelry boxes that Walter made from our scrap pile.
Final Foundlings packaging, printed locally by Fireball Printing.

All the Names Collection

All the Names incorporates small brass frames from mid-1800s Daguerreotype and Ambrotype hinge cases that once framed faces whose names are forever lost. 

In 1847, preservers or brass frames, were added to hinge photograph cases. They wrapped the glass, mat and image to protect the delicate photograph from oxygen. We have taken the cases apart and transformed them into jewelry

The hinge photograph case that became Eulalie.
Silicon mold from brass frames. First step of transformation.
Silver frame pieces, next rounded and recast into a variety of sizes.
Finished! Here is Eulalie, named for Edgar Allan Poe's poem.
All of the names, with the exception of Beatrice, after my grandmother, have come from characters in books.
Creating the faces for the packaging!
This packaging happened while and because of a class I was taking at the time – a children's book illustration class by Make Art That Sells.
A stack of Dorian rings, named for Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray – the first book Walter shared with me when we met!

Poison for Breakfast Collection

I have been lost in a magical world that I can barely believe isn't all in my head. Black and white with lots of exploration and learning. And eggs on repeat. Tis a place I can go when the sun goes down—scribbling, scribbling...⁠⁠

These pieces were made to accompany Poison for Breakfast, written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by me, Margaux. Pretty sure this was one of the most extraordinary projects I partook in…the reality is coming in and out of focus. 

Inspired to continue on, we decided to move the marks on paper into metal pieces for this small collection, which pertains to this enormous philosophical question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"⁠⁠ 

I love this photograph of Søren. He was so pleased with the final version. Seeing his face made it real-er to me!

My model, Ragnar as a chick, perched on my journal on the kitchen table, where chicks belong. 
My original drawing.
Lasered stencils from procreate tracings of my drawings.
Shaping clay minis after pulling them out of the stencil!
Our first in shop mold!
Waxes to be built into a tree and cast in silver, gold, and bronze!
Wax tree prepared for mold making.
Chicken + Egg Necklace in our Walnut Jewelry Box.

Botanical Collection

Often times our most wonderful discoveries are merely the recognition of what is before us – and in this case under foot! Our botanical jewelry collection was inspired by our unearthing of the usefulness of weeds and pays homage to its winged cultivator.

*How to (re)oxidize your jewelry!

If you are drawn towards the fully oxidized silver variation on the left, it is easy to do yourself (as we no longer offer this version in our shop) – start with smashing a hard boiled egg in a container. Next put the ring into the container with the egg. Close it and let it sit in the fridge for several hours. Take it out when the darkness suits your fancy — the longer it stays in the sulfur, the more oxidized it will become. 

Then polish with a cloth or the ankle part of your jeans — no one will notice the black spot down there...

Seed packet packaging!
My journal page from April 2014...
Dandelion – the entire plant is edible! How many ways can you prepare Dandelion?
Botanical rings, pickled after casting.


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