Elevate Difference

Tooth-y Post & Live Life/Love Life Earrings

I hover in that funny in-between space of generations. Having come into this world in 1980, I teeter between Gen X and Gen Y status. I remember the Reagan presidency, the first Gulf War, and the fall of the Berlin wall—though I didn’t really understand the impact of any of these things at the time. I also grew up watching too much MTV, had my first email address through Prodigy, chatted on IRC, and downloaded hella songs on Napster my freshman year of college—but I have never read any Harry Potter books nor did I have a thing for any Backstreet Boy or member of *NSync. So where does that leave me?

There is one cross-over item, however, that I have found brings a smile to most folks of both age-based cohorts, and that item is Shrinky Dinks. Though invented in 1973, Shrinky Dinks became massively popular in the ‘80s thanks to good ole Milton Bradley—and, really, the toy is genius. The gist of it is that you take a large piece of polystyrene plastic, cut the plastic into the shape of your choice, draw and color a picture on the shape, and finally, pop the pieces of plastic in the oven where they will shrink into smaller, firmer, and thicker designs. Voila! You’ve got a self-made tool for crafting.

If you’re the artistic type, Shrinky Dinks have the ability to be your best friend, but the Singapore-based Shup(g)—pronounced “shoop”—already knows this. Actually, I can’t be entirely sure Shup(g)’s designs are created using this retro method that provided me hours-long entertainment as a child, but whatever jewelry designer Lydia Wong is using brought back memories of coloring at the kitchen table and peeking into the oven to watch the shrinkage in action.

I’m not sure any of these translucent, black and white, plastic items would be suiting for a formal affair, but for everyday kitsch, they’re perfect. Feeling a little directorial? Then perhaps cuff links in the shape of a film camera will provide a bit of cinematic inspiration. While browsing the selection, I was immediately drawn to the Tooth-y Post Earrings. My sister is a dental hygienist who works in an office where three women (herself included) gave birth in the past six months. If anyone is going to wear plastic, smiling teeth on their ears, it’s her. My favorite item, however, must be the dangly set of Live Life/Love Life Earrings, an optimistic reminder for those of us given to bouts of cynicism.

Shup(g) personalizes every piece of jewelry she makes. Support her education in music education and therapy. If she can bring joy into the world through tiny pieces of plastic, just imagine what she’ll go with a degree!

Written by: Mandy Van Deven, November 5th 2009