Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stealing My Boyfriend's Toys ...

I'm as guilty as any other girlfriend who might do some 'safe snooping', so to speak.  Nick has a 'junk drawer' in the studio full of stuff he's collected over the years, from antique hunting knives from his grandfather to shells and stones from a childhood trip to Guatemala.  Going through this drawer of his treasures, I happened upon a very cool collection of miniature army trucks and tanks, rubber weapons of war and tiny cast iron painted soldiers.  I couldn't help but covet these, and the good girlfriend I am, asked him if he would be grateful to donate some of these toys to my cause.  These are some of his favourite childhood toys, he's told me, a lot of them are vintage from his grandfather's childhood.  For his donation, this is the Alexander Collection, after his middle name.

I didn't want these pieces to fall under the 'military fad' style, instead I wanted to make a statement with these pieces.  I've matched these army toys with various symbols of faith and goodwill that can be interpreted by the wearer and viewer in many different ways.  My interpretation and intention when I made these pieces was that with faith in ourselves and each other, we can conquer the most difficult challenges without conflict.  Let's take a look!

Alexander necklace, no. 1.  This one was truly the first.  A water canteen, meant as a accessory for a larger action figure ('It's not a doll', Nick insists) suspends from the signature hodgepodge of chain that makes up the necklace, a trend you'll see in the rest of these pieces.  A guitar pick with a tribal warrior face dangles behind the canteen.  A lampwork glass bead in pale green swirls is reminiscent of camoflauge patterns.

In light of a television show I've been recently watching called 'The Deadliest Warrior', I've come to realize the amass amount of respect I have for men and women from all walks of life, country and belief to train themselves in the art of defense for their culture.  I come from a family of veterans tracing back to World War I, and have come to respect the sacrifice these soldiers had made for what we do take for granted today.  These 'warriors' will always be a pillar of endurance and a tribute to what we can do ourselves to strive in our own lives.

Alexander necklace, no. 2.  A rubber kit knife dangles with a silver cross and key, embossed with the word 'guard', strung on the signature mixed chain.  A melted lampwork glass discard is repurposed here in this necklace, potentially a wound caused by a weapon much like this one. 

The 'gash' on the necklace was really found in a 'discard' pile from a craft show long ago.  A lampwork glass artist had a bowl of these oddly shaped glass beads of different colours and melted shapes.  She had said she couldn't find it in her heart to throw away these 'odd treasures', but had no idea how to use them herself.  I had bought a few myself and had used them in various projects, and am happy to have held on to this one long enough to use it in this project.  

As we sing in our anthem, 'We stand on guard for thee!'  For those who stand in harm's way and risk their lives for us, some who come home wounded emotionally and physically, and for those who don't make it home to us, we honour you.

Alexander necklace, no. 3.  An army field medic truck dangles with a hematite cross and a brass key.  Small red lantern beads are beacons to show that help is on its way, beaded along the signature mixed chain.

M*A*S*H would probably spark some resonance with this necklace.  As a show that focuses on the field medical officers and their exploits, sharing humourous moments between comrades and united in grief when a friend is lost in battle.  The skill and determination these men and women need to help our soldiers survive is something to be commended, and fight as diligently as our soldiers.

Alexander necklace, no. 4.  A military tank with movable parts dangles on a signature mixed chain.  A sterling silver 'Om' charm and an Indian prayer bead are added for a Zen element.  

Simply meant as a juxtaposing piece of 'war and peace'.  The sterling silver 'Om' charm came from an earring that had lost its counterpart, and I had thought it would make an interesting conversation piece.  I would imagine the wearer would have their own personal statement behind this necklace.

I was raised to be one who respects others' opinions, even if I don't agree.  It's difficult to change a person's opinions when they are so passionate about what they support.  The best you can do is understand that most people have nothing but good intentions in their beliefs, and always have good intentions in yours.

Alexander necklace, no. 5.  A peace symbol hangs with a small cross charm and a vintage cast iron painted soldier ready to fire a bazooka.  Kaboom!

The peace sign is another earring that lost its counterpart, and the cross came from a destash of jewelry I've held onto for a while.  The little bazooka man is an awesome find, and I was in marvel of this little toy.  Nick's got a few more of these little guys with different weapons, but he'd rather hang onto those.

I would imagine this piece would be a little more mainstream in design, with all the elements playing together nicely.  This was a necklace I had worn myself for a little while and received many compliments for it.  Alas, sometimes it's time to 'let the kids out into the world', so it's available in my Etsy shop, as are the rest of these necklaces!

I was so glad to find these toys and was able to make new life out of them, and I'm looking forward to more ways I can repurpose unexpected items.  I got a 'thumbs up' from Nick with these necklaces, and even made one for him!

Custom necklace for my boyfriend!  A Buddha charm, a small grenade and a red lantern bead are strung on a simple ball chain, just the way he wanted it.

Fine more of the unexpected at!

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