Assemblage is an art form for every creative person who wants to experiment with putting uncommon objects together -- just as one would complete a jigsaw puzzle. Projects are fun to work on with friends and family or on your own. Children have a blast with this type of art form because it draws on the creativity that they are overflowing with. Truly, they just need an adult to twist, weld, or otherwise fashion the pieces together once a composition is complete.
Assemblage art can be used to turn cherished items into art, making them keepsakes rather than storing them in a box. I have seen beautiful assemblage pieces made from mementos saved from weddings or from a child’s first year.
The only negative to be aware of is a possible addiction to the art form. Everything you see will soon seem like the perfect piece for an assemblage -- recovering pack rats beware.
Creating assemblage art is a passion of mine, and one of my favorite styles is to begin a piece with an empty box (old smoke boxes, jewelry boxes, bread boxes and more) and filling them with items that portray a certain idea or feeling. Sometimes, though, a finished piece is chosen to look good aesthetically – it does not always need a defined meaning or purpose. Assemblage is usually a mix of items from different time periods, different backgrounds, and ultimately it is giving new life to what would have become trash.
Artisans use assemblage methods to create jewelry that is often both whimsical and beautiful. A jewelry project does not always look like a miniature collage –- sometimes it can be a pair of pearl drop earrings that look very traditional, but are truly of repurposed jewelry: pearls from a broken necklace, metals cut and reformed from an old bracelet, and earring posts from salvaged earrings that are no longer worn.
I love assemblage art that has the look of an art piece, but in a small size that makes it wearable. Many times I find beautiful assemblage jewelry (such as necklaces and brooches) that are far too large to actually wear. These pieces are nice to display at home or in art galleries. Assemblage can looks vintage, valuable, and elegant -- if done right –- and the simplest piece can dress up an ensemble.
Steampunk JewelrySteampunk jewelry is a form of assemblage, although it's a more specific niche of the art form. Steampunk items are fashioned mostly from clockwork, gears, and metals, and the end result has a Victorian feel. This fits well into assemblage, and the two techniques are often intermingled.
Pricing of assemblage items varies quite a bit, depending on the seller, the type of items used, and the experience of the artisan constructing the piece. Etsy is a wonderful place to find great assemblage work –- jewelry and full scale art. It is also the perfect place for ideas and inspiration.
Assemblage styled jewelry can be found from regular retailers, typically mass produced items that are made to look like they are assemblage pieces, just as there are items made to look like Steampunk or vintage items. This can be an option for those who do not wish to dive into making their own. I will state that often the mass produced items will cost more than purchasing an item from an artist. If you want to find jewelry that gives the feeling of assemblage, I would recommend stores that often have vintage-feeling clothing or crafts to begin with, such as Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.
I believe we will see more assemblage jewelry make its way into everyday culture as time goes on, especially with the ecological climate and continued focus on wasting less and repurposing more.
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