• Karen Seiger

McFlashpants: Not Your Old Bent Spoon Ring, No Sir

Featured Vendor at the Brooklyn Craft Central Market!

Jen McGlashan is the creative force behind McFlashpants, a line of incredibly innovative jewelry and accessories made from vintage cutlery.  These are not your traditional bent spoon rings.  Where you and I see a butter knife, Jen sees a miniature planter.  We might see just a pile of old spoons, and Jen sees a  whole school of fish.  I had a chance to talk with Jen about her design influences, life on the farm, and what she’s bringing to the Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Market.

Where do you get your cutlery? I’m asking right off the bat because I know it’s a good story. I have lots of friends with antique stores.  They sell complete sets of silverware, but if a set is missing a piece or two, the value drops dramatically.  So I pick them up for a good price and make other things out of them.  In fact, some days I’ll come home and find a pitcher full of butter knives that someone has dropped off for me.  It’s like getting a visit from the Magic Cutlery Gnome, or living in a place where spoons and knives grow on trees.

How lucky!  I have a Magic Orchid Gnome who rescues orchids from the trash room and leaves them at my door.  So, where did you get the idea to make jewelry from all of this cutlery, especially the knife handle vases with little plants in them? Whenever I was out in the garden, I wanted to be in my shop.  And when I was in the shop, I wanted to be outside.  So creating and wearing jewelry with a live plant was my way of being wherever I want to be at any time.

My mother had a teeny blown glass vase brooch so she could wear a cut flower in water all day long.  I just wanted the plant to last a little longer.  If a plant wants to live, it should live.  The result is the same prettiness, and the live plant is very easy to maintain.  In fact, once they realize they are living in a small space, they adjust and start to dwarf themselves into beautiful bonsais.  It’s a lot like a New York apartment.

I loved the fork squid necklace at The {NewNew}’s Treasure Chest this past summer on Governor’s Island.  How did you come up with an underwater theme for your jewelry? I did a show at an art gallery with an underwater photographer.  So I adapted my jewelry designs to go with her photography.  I made a sea anemone sculpture with 25 forks for the show.  I learned new skills, and so if I want to expand into sculpture, I know I can do it.  My birthday present to myself this year is a welding kit and a tank of oxygen.  I used to want to be a princess.  I’m pretty sure Princess Jen would be mortified to know that I want to weld iron and steel these days.

Are you bringing some extra special items to the Brooklyn Craft Central Market? Yes! I’m bringing several new things, including jewelry made from found objects.  I was walking in Carroll Gardens and came across a pile of rubber tiles that had been tossed out from a home renovation.  To me it was “found gold.”  So I’m bringing rubber tile necklaces to the market.  A friend of mine repairs old lamps, and he recently delivered a bucket of old Art Deco brass pieces from 1920’s lamps.  So I’ve made jewelry out of them as well.

I also have a new Japanese inro necklace design, which is a traditional case for holding small objects.  The necklaces are tiny boxes made from knife handles with a lid that slides up and down on the chain.

How has living on a farm affected your creativity? Life on the farm informs everything I do now.  It reinforces the reuse of everything, which is the theory of my work.  I have a framed picture in my workshop that says, “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without.”  Recycling is nothing new, especially to farmers.  We plan on making the farm an artists retreat in the near future, along the lines of Peter’s Valley in New Jersey.  In the meantime, we’re busy with vegetables, goats and chickens.  Eventually we’ll get alpaca too.

We’ll come and see your chickens very soon!  In the meantime, we’ll see you on December 18th and 19th at the Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Market!

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