OUR HANDMADE PROCESS
At The Groggy Owl, we use a variety of techniques and materials to create your jewellery. What makes our pieces special is that we make each one by hand in small batches, using materials that have been ethically-sourced. Feel good about your jewellery and learn more about how it's made below.
Our "copper dipped" pieces are made using the intricate process of electroforming. It's the process of transferring metal (in this case, copper) onto a conductive medium through electrodeposition.
The base of the piece often requires several days of prep work prior to coating in copper. One of these steps is manipulating where I want the copper to form by painting on a homemade conductive medium. Once ready, I suspend the piece into a chemical solution and send an electric current through it, causing the copper to gradually build. This creates a beautifully unique and organic look.
It usually takes around 24-36 hours for the copper to build, where I must constantly rotate and monitor the piece to ensure proper metal plating. This is finally followed by several stages of manually polishing so it's shiny and ready to be worn!
In addition to the above steps, there are often many extra steps in between of required prep and polishing etc., depending on the medium I am working with to be electroformed. For example, leaves and flowers require the most prep work, involving boiling to remove excess pulp, drying until flat, or preserving in a glycerin mixture for a few weeks to make the leaves rubbery and pliable so that I'm able to work with them. One electroformed piece often takes several days or sometimes weeks to complete.
The plastic featured on my zero waste collection is made out of plastic waste that I transform into wearable art by using a self-developed technique that utilizes heat and colour.
Many of my zero waste pieces incorporate scrap metal so that no piece goes unused. This includes scrap electrical copper wiring that strip, polish, hammer and shape to create unique bookmarks, for example.
I use fabric from old clothing, that I cut and stretch into fabric or “t-shirt” thread. I then use this handmade “t-shirt” thread to weave, braid, or crochet to create new pieces.
My mom and I have been making paper beads since my high school days, in order to raise funds for causes we believed in. We cut and roll scrap newspapers and flyers to create beads. We seal the beads using nail polish from unusable, almost empty nail polish bottles donated to us by family and friends.
I sometimes make pieces solely out of findings and materials from old, broken accessories to create unique, brand new pieces. I love creating something new out of something that would otherwise be thrown away. Any pieces using “re-claimed” materials are clearly labelled in the product title and description.
We make our statement clay earrings out of a high quality polymer clay. We chose polymer clay because it is both lightweight and durable. So it's very easy on the ears, and won't shatter like other brittle clays if dropped. This is because polymer clay is a bit flexible.
HOW IT'S MADE:
First the clay must be prepped and conditioned. Conditioning the clay means manually kneading it and twisting it so that it's soft enough to work with, ensuring that the entire piece is manipulated. I do this with my hands, a rolling pin and a pasta machine. During this process I am also usually blending colours.
Once it's conditioned and I've blended the colours to my liking, I will roll out and flatten the clay into a nice sheet. From here, I may add additional designs & details, smoothing until it is to my liking.
When I'm happy with the overall colour and design of the sheet of clay, I will use a variety of cutter tools to cut out shapes. These shapes will be the jewellery components.
The clay is then baked & cooled. Once ready, I will use a variety of sanding tools to smooth down the clay, gradually using different grits until I get a desired smooth surface.
Next is assembly time! This comprises of individually & manually drilling holes into each component and then assembling with hooks and jump rings.
Many of my items are hand-stamped, meaning each letter or design was individually hammered by hand into the metal by yours truly! Because of this, there may be slight variations in the alignment and impressions. Not only is this just the nature of hand-stamped pieces - but it's also part of the charm!
Metalsmithing is basically fashioning items, in our case, jewellery, through the manipulation of various metals. This involves forming and shaping metal with hammers, mandrels, and other tools. It also involves sawing with a jeweler’s saw or cutting with metal snips to form shapes, doming with a metal dapping set, drilling holes for design elements. Basic soldering is also used to create many of our pieces. Soldering requires the use of a torch to fuse pieces of metal together, joining the metal by melting a filler metal into the joint. We do this to create our skinny stacking rings, or to fuse jump rings and pendant bails as a few examples.
We pride ourselves in making the components of our jewellery, so you can feel good knowing your pieces were made ethically.
We spin all our tassels by hand, manually spinning the thread around 100 - 500 times to get the desired thickness & quality. Each tassel is sewn securely, so they won't fall apart easily like mass-produced tassels.
Our jewellery also requires a lot of beadwork, which is the craft of stringing beads together to create patterns and designs. This often involves the use of a needle and thread or thin wire. All our stretch bracelets are made using high guality stretch cord that we knot securely and glue for added durability. This also hides the knot for a seamless bracelet.
Wire-weaving is also used to create many of our pieces, which involves weaving various gauges (thickness) of wire together by hand to create wearable art. From simple hand-woven wire designs to intricate, tightly woven designs that take several hours to complete. We often like to incorporate gemstones into these designs as well.
We also make a lot of chain by hand from scratch using metal wire. This involves shaping and hammering each chain link one by one, and then attaching each link together by hand. Pieces with handmade chains are indicated in the product description.
Aside from making your jewellery, I package and ship each piece personally, often writing a little hand-written thank you note!
There is so much work that goes into each of our pieces, I could go on all day with the details. Just know that when you shop The Groggy Owl, a lot of time and care was put into that one piece & we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support of our work!
Sarah - The Girl Behind The Groggy Owl