bitty earrings, because every little bit counts!

With the years of being a young student and supporting myself through college not too far behind me I can still recall the days of using my metal in a thrifty manner. When it came time to get metal for casting class I went to an antique store a few blocks from the arts campus and bought some old sterling silver utensils which were of no more value than the silver they were made of. I chopped the spoons and forks up and made some new jewelry with them. By re-using utensils I was able to cut the fabrication and shipping costs which would have been charged by a refiner. Even more thrifty than utensils I used pieces of scrap which I had been saving for such an occasion. On other projects, if I didn't have the correct gauge wire I would roll it out and forge it to the size or shape necessary for my pieces. While I was trying so hard to be thrifty I wasn't quite thinking about being eco-friendly. Now, I look back and realize that I was indeed being a good earth loving artisan in recycling my materials. Even more responsible than purchasing metals made of supposed recycled or eco-friendly materials. There are still a lack of checks and balances for responsibly mined metals, gemstones and diamonds. {for more information read Ethical Metalsmiths.} Until there is a complete list of safe places to buy metal which has been mined in a responsible manner which meets fair trade standards I will continue to believe that I am following the path of a metalsmith who uses every last bit of her materials, wastes nothing and uses only non-toxic flux and pickle, therefore, being an earth loving metalsmith who treads lightly on the environment. 

And these little earrings demonstrate my care in using every little bit.

This is what I start with...
yup, that's right, I start with scraps of scraps. The tiny scallop-edged piece of metal. I carefully place the punch to make sure I will get a full circle when I swing my hammer over the end of the punch.

After I solder the posts on I clean the earrings with my 3m wheels. I add texture to some and bring others to a polish. Some bitty earrings are made of textured sheet from the start, which make them even more fun!
 {sorry I checked and the posts aren't so called eco-friendly. I was sure the catalog claimed that all of their findings were eco-friendly but the listing is now missing the company's new seal of eco-friendly approval. I tried to throw some recycled goodness in there for you!}

And this is the final piece...
They are itty-bitty and using up almost every last bit of metal. The rest will be saved for casting. If you are in love with these, just click on the image to see them in my etsy shop!

Are there materials in your medium which you consider to not be so earth hugging friendly as they claim to be? Please share.