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12/28/05 | Kiku Fused Glass

Kiku LogoKiku is a little DIY shop that I came across the other day that makes fused glass jewelry and other accesories. I like the unusual shapes and colors of these playful items.

The fused glass is actually made by putting the pieces of glass together into a kiln and melting them into each other. I’ve always wanted to try fused glass but since I don’t have a kiln handy just yet, I’m once again in “admiring others” mode when it comes to glasswork like this.

Laurie from Kiku makes a wide array of fun necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings, pins, rings and even belt buckles and cufflinks. Her site says she uses “Bullseye transparent and opaque glass” as well as CBS Dichroic glass to make her jewelry. I believe that she’s based in the Chicago area.

Sizzle Pin - Kiku Fused GlassSome of my favorite Kiku pieces of jewelry are the unusual shaped items like this aptly named Sizzle Pin. It a starfish shaped opaque red, orange, and yellow glass pin that is about 2 3/4″ wide.

A lot of her jewelry seems affordably priced as well… this one was marked down to $20. There are quite a few other cool abstract pins like this one.

Ambush Necklace - Kiku Fused GlassI also like the mod styled “Tag Necklaces” which feature colorful thin discs of fused glass with an offcenter hole in them. This golden amber one is called “Ambush” and is accented by specks of crushed lavender glass and is hung on a 16 inch sterling silver chain.

Two others that I liked that aren’t pictured here are the “Balance” disc necklace which features turquoise glass layered with purple, and the “Purple Donut” which is dark purple with crushed pink accents.

You can check out other items at the Kiku site:

5/30/05 | Bakelite Bits

Bakelite BitsBakelite is a favorite plastic for many collectors. Invented in 1907 by Leo Baekeland this extremely versatile plastic went on to be used in a multitude of products through the 1940s. Lately, they’ve experienced quite a resurgence in popularity. I’ve seen a bunch of antique bakelite things at various garage sales and swap meets, but usually the items offered are the actual old products (such as bangles, dishes, and even radios).

Aileen from Bakelite Bits ups the ante by creating original one of a kind jewelry pieces from colorful remnant pieces of Bakelite, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and pins.

From her website:

I adore vintage materials and I have developed an appreciation, dare I say LOVE, of early plastics, particularly bakelite. My love affair started with a wonderful red/butterscotch Fada 1000 bullet catalin (bakelite) radio that came my way and has evolved into an enthusiasm to make things from this beautiful substance. I have been creating pieces of jewelry and other objects of whimsy from vintage beads, buttons and parts (found in flea markets, antique shops and from folks who have purchased old stock and remnants from defunct plastics factories) which are inspired by those fashioned in the heyday of this vibrant phenolic resin and infused with my own sense of fun.

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I stumbled across some really cool pins from Happy Owl Glassworks the other day. These square pins are about an inch across and are created out of fused glass. Head Owl Tracy offers a good selection of animals on her glass pins so you have quite a few choices including the following: fawn, owl, bunny, squirrel, porcupine, ladybug, damselfly and chess piece. I like how many of the glass pieces aren’t pure white or clear but feature very nice background color choices for the glass like olive green, powder blue and purple.

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