These maple-leaf earrings have been created from genuine leather and backed with 400 count Egyptian cotton. They have silver ear wires and other fixings. They are decorated, front and back, with suminagashi marbling, which is an ancient Japanese technique where inks are floated onto water and the resulting pattern is printed onto the surface, in this case leather (and cotton backing) but traditionally paper.
This means that every print is unique, since once it’s taken off the water surface and put onto the leather, it can’t be printed again and it’s impossible to get exactly the same results twice. This does mean that the pairs of earrings won’t be an exact match, but as they are printed from the same marbling ‘bath’ they will have the same colours and similar patterns.
The leather is ‘designer dead stock’ – in other words a designer bought a substantial amount of the leather and used most of it but some remained, which would have gone to landfill if not sold on as scrap pieces. The dead-stock piece was large enough to make a pouch and the earrings are created from the remains of that project. The Egyptian cotton was similar – small remnants from larger projects.
The ‘fixings’ of course i.e. the ear wires and jump rings, are new and they are sterling silver.
NOTE: The final picture in the gallery shows the backs of the earrings.
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I’ve always had the urge to create. I think it’s in the blood as my mum used to do a lot of dressmaking and some embroidery, we both paint; one of my great aunts also embroidered and painted. I remember learning basic sewing at around five with some off-cuts of a green trouser suit mum had made me and some red thread. I can still picture the results and I’ve been fascinated with textile colours and textures ever since. I’ve also always had an interest in crafting, the history of crafts and how things are made. While my brother was fascinated by modern technology, I was harking back to ‘the olden days’. I’ve tried all sorts of arts and crafts over the years, including crochet, various types of embroidery, felting and botanical painting. I have a City and Guilds Level 3 in Design and Craft with a specialisation in embroidery. While I still love to paint I don’t do so much crochet, felting or embroidery now because at the age of 39 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your joints– and although I don’t have it badly, those crafts were putting a lot of strain on my hands.
Although I’d done some marbling as a kid, it was actually during an arthritis flare, when I wasn’t able to do much of anything and was surfing the net, that I stumbled across a video on marbling … and that was that really!
I love the fact that every piece is unique – it’s actually impossible to do the same thing twice, although if you’re super-organised it’s possible to come close. (I’m not super organised!) I also find the process very therapeutic. I’m also a big fan of the ‘slow fashion movement’ – it can mean several things but fundamentally it’s anti-fast-fashion and throw-away fashion, and pro carefully created pieces that you can treasure and wear again and again. These scarves are created with love and care, and they can be worn so many ways, and with so many outfits. They can totally change the look of the outfit too, so they’re really a slow fashion win.
I love to play with colour and silk and create something beautiful; Marbled Beauty gives me a chance to share that beauty with the world.