Project Accessory Recap, Episode 1: Trash-to-Treasure Jewelry

What did you think of the gorgeous Project Accessory workroom? Love the ruby-red wall against the blue-gray suede-finish walls. Photo from Lifetime Television.

So did you watch Project Accessory last night? I've never seen a reality show that I've wanted to be on before! (If you missed it, you can watch the first episode online.)

Imagine being set free in a huge abandoned storage warehouse full of stuff to gather whatever you can find to make fabulous jewelry and accessories–a necklace, a belt, and a third piece. Lucky folks! The twelve designers (half of which are jewelry makers) were challenged to use whatever they could grab in fifteen minutes to make the accessories that would transform a plain T-shirt and jeans from eBay. I couldn't believe how many of them were trying to tear apart pieces of furniture! If I had only fifteen minutes, deconstructing wood and metal furniture with my bare hands wouldn't be a priority for me.

Diego Rocha's spray-painted pleather neck cuff is chic and simple. Photo from Lifetime Television.

Some leather ripped off a couch, mattress springs, a wagon wheel, an old TV, some clothes and shoes, stuffed animals, a dollhouse, records (remember those?), lots of hardware, a whole crystal chandelier and lots more junk later, the trash-to-treasure jewelry-making fun began.

Sawing and hammering, drilling and grinding–plus lots of sewing and gluing–I couldn't be more jealous. I'm inspired to be more fearless in my jewelry studio, to try to be less timid about taking things apart, drilling holes in pieces I want to use, and cutting with wild abandon! (. . .but also doing a little investigative work beforehand so I don't ruin my tools.)

Rich Sandomeno's wispy necklace is one of my faves. Photo from Lifetime Television.

I was thrilled with Debra Messing as the guest judge–love her! But I was a little surprised at how established all the designers are–many already have successful careers in jewelry and accessory design; and then they were given an eBay wall of accessories to complete their looks. I thought the idea was to create accessories that alone would transform the T-shirt and jeans?

Curious parts aside, I especially appreciated this great advice from Vivre founder and Project Accessory mentor Eva Jeanbart-Lorenzotti: "Part of the challenge is to create pieces that are distinctive and important–but yet wearable."

There were many other brilliant ideas to be remembered from the first episode of Project Accessory, too, such as:

  • Cut up old stuffed animals for their "faux fur"
  • Snip apart old metal coiled pieces (like the rat trap Nina deconstructed) into jump rings
  • Reuse crystals and hardware from an old chandelier–been there, done that, loved it!
  • Cut off the leather upper of old high heels to make leather cuffs
  • Spray embossed leather (or pleather) in gold paint (or other metallics) to create the look of textured metals at a fraction of the cost
James Sommerfeldt's bold shell and flower necklace has me dreaming of a tropical vacation. Photo from Lifetime Television.

When it was all said and done, I loved Nina's matchstick ring (learn to make her belt), James's necklace (though the rest of his "luau princess" ensemble went too far for me), and Rich's wispy necklace. What was your favorite piece? Who are you picking to win? I think my money is on Nina–I love her beaded wired shapes shown in her jewelry design photo gallery on the Project Accessory website.

I love Nina Cortes's matchstick cross-finger ring. Photo from Lifetime Television.

I hope you'll join me and other Project Accessory fans on the special JMD Forum to chat about the shows! We're also tweeting live throughout each episode. Discussing #projectaccessory with @JewelMakindaily on Twitter is a "guess you had to be there" kind of thing, so I hope you will be there next Thursday at 10e/9c!

And are you up to the challenge? The JMD Project Accessory-inspired Make-Along challenge, that is.

Each week we're going to make a piece of jewelry that follows the show's challenge and share our results in the photo gallery. I hope you'll play along! Speaking of playing, that Swarovski wall is a jewelry-maker's sparkling dream come true. My mouth watered! I'm going to have to stock up on Swarovski jewelry-making supplies before the next episode so I can play along in sparkly style.


Here's a special limited-time offer to tempt you into joining us. . . .

Oh the joy of drilling, sawing, and filing–all on national TV no less! We loved watching the contestants scrounge around for jewelry materials on last night's episode. And it inspired us to do the same! See your scraps with a whole new perspective and learn to turn whatever into "wow" with Candie Cooper's Transforming Metal Found Objects for Your Jewelry. It's on sale for Project Accessory fans now through 10/30/11! Just enter coupon code PAJMD1 when you're ready to check out. Start transforming your jewelry now!

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