Thursday, July 9, 2009

One-of-a-kind Jewelry at JUPE!

JUPE Boutique is proud to carry jewelry from local and independent designers. One of our favorites, Peasant Jewelry, is created by Pittsburgh native Mike Hickey. These one-of-a-kind original pieces are constructed from vintage chains, antique keys and objects, animal bones, rosaries, deer antlers and the list goes on.

His original style was inspired during a train hopping trip. While walking along the tracks, he came across an old dog skeleton which he collected a tooth from. Later, he found a hand-forged nail and with some twine, made himself a necklace from the two found objects. People were interested in his spur of the moment piece and decided to take a stab at jewelry making.

Mike scours antique shops and flea markets for the components that comprise his pieces. Today, he sells in boutiques all over the country including New York, Austin, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. I had the opportunity to ask Mike a few questions about his craft.

Where did you get the idea to make jewelry?
I feel like I was searching for jewelry that suited me for years. I'm certainly not the jewelry store or mall kind of person. I really considered making my own jewelry when I became fed up with what I was finding. Even on trips to NYC I couldn't find anything that really went well with my attire. I'm a bit of a fashion snob now, but even back then when I wore mostly thrift gear, I came up empty handed. The actual idea of using antiques and found objects really became concrete when I was train hopping. I strung things I found on twine and wore them. Most notably a dog tooth, which I still wear today.
What sort of style do you aim for?
Flash-less. I love rust and dirt. I utilize filthy things that I discover in old boxes lost in attics. Forgotten things that have been twisted and decayed over time. Far more beautiful than a new, shiny medallion. My favorite pieces are the utmost evil looking ones. Those that seem haunted. These rarely end up in a boutique like Jupe. You girls get the cute pieces.
Where do you see it going in the future?
I'm planning on taking a metal casting class very soon. I want to work with molten metals and make pieces that I conceive from beginning to end. I've got some creepy ideas and I'd love to see what I can do. I'd also really like to expand the amount I'm selling, but right now I can't keep up with the demand. It's difficult to hunt for pieces week after week, and then construct every piece by hand. I'd love to make it more available because I'm certain there are people who, like me, can't find the right jewelry. But I still want to make every piece it's own, and each one-of-a-kind.
To learn more about Peasant Jewelry, read a recent article seen in Pittsburgh City Paper and visit JUPE to check out Mike's original pieces!
Photo 1 courtesy of Pittsburgh City Paper

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