Natalie Austin (the creative mind behind Dozen Odd Galleries in Carbonear) began collecting materials for jewellery when she came across a piece of copper pipe on her workbench. That was in 2012. Since then, she’s built a business out of up-cycling copper and crafting beautiful necklaces and earrings, and it earned her a spot at the G7 summit in Tokyo in 2016.
The copper usually finds its way to Natalie after home and building renovations. The raw materials then go through an 8-day process of cleaning, anvil hammering, sanding, tumbling and polishing, and in the case of the enamel, kiln-firing, before they are transformed into the finished product. The result is high quality, naturally water-patterned jewellery.
Lead-free enamel is a conscious choice on Natalie’s part because, although harder to work with, she believes that it’s important in materials being worn so close to the skin. Sustainability is also very important to her, and when she stumbled upon up-cycled copper as a jewellery making material, Natalie realized it was a perfect fit. It’s soft, but made hard with hammering and texturing, each piece is unique due to the flow of water through the pipes, and it fits with her personal environmental values.
The copper is taking Natalie places – in May of 2016, Natalie was selected to attend the G7 summit in Tokyo where she represented Canadian craftswomen. Natalie has also won awards from the MMSB and the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador. As for the future, she’s looking to grow her business and “always looking for new reclaimed materials to elevate and incorporate into beautiful jewellery”.