Elevate Difference

Found Object Necklace

Found object art first made an impression on me studying the Dada movement in a mixed media sculpture class. Evolved from ready-made, or “manufactured objects raised to the dignity of works of art through the choice of the artist,” the re-purposing and re-perceiving of found objects in art made a political-cultural statement that was at once empowering and irreverent, an inspiring combination for a passionate young student.

When the opportunity to review a Found Object Necklace from Rhode Island-based Malcolm Studio Shop arose, I accepted and eagerly awaited the necklace’s arrival in the mail. In the meantime I perused Karen Malcolm’s Etsy and Cosa Verde sites and was enchanted by her collection of found object art, jewelry, and boxes. Natural themes and muted, antiqued earth tones are predominant. She uses “eighty percent upcycled, recycled or reused” objects in all of her creations.

I had actually forgotten what my one-of-a-kind found object necklace looked like and that added to my sense of delight when I removed the necklace from its black velvet bag. The pendant is an assemblage of burnished metal pieces, their previous incarnations a mystery, and an acrylic amber piece that I suspect was once a button on a 1960s coat. This skillfully constructed centerpiece hangs from one of the coolest chains I’ve ever seen: circles and pointed ovals in a burnished metal, accented by three complementary, but not matching, beads. The necklace is much longer (about twenty-one inches) than those I normally wear, but the clasp allowed me to easily adjust it to a choker length.

Back to that sense of joy, what I love about found object art in general and Malcolm Studio Shop’s work in particular is the mysterious composition of treasure chest bits and magpie booty artfully arranged and disguised with re-purpose. It’s timeless because it comes from all eras and is essentially sustainable, reducing the demand for additional production. Malcolm’s work is also very reasonably priced; most necklaces are under $50 and original art and upcycled assemblage boxes range from $35 to $169.

Written by: Matsya Siosal, August 12th 2009

Thanks Wendy. It was a fun review to write.

Karen, I love your work!

Thanks for the review and for all the Feminist Review does to support women entrepreneurs and artists.

An amazing artist!!! What a great post!!