When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. At least that’s the approach this NH Made member took when given the chance to merge an old hobby with her career to create something new.
“So, what are these pendants made of? Labradorite? Tiger’s eye?” These are the types of questions Marcia Passos-Duffy of Geo-Graphic Gems is asked, and the answer – the pieces are made from the pages of vintage National Geographic magazines – is usually met with more questions! Geo-Graphic Gems, the collection of custom-made, upcycled magazine jewelry, has taken off in the past six months, giving Marcia, the longtime journalist-turned-jeweler a run for her money! In this month’s NH Made member spotlight, we hear all about how her unique business came to be.
“I’d been experimenting with jewelry for a few years, just as gifts for friends. Then while visiting an artist friend, I noticed these amazing abstract marbled images on her wall. Turns out they were old National Geographic issues she had treated with citric acid. My background in publishing had met my love of crafting, and that was something I had to pursue. I experimented with different methods and means for weeks. In May, I took some pieces to Hannah Grimes in Keene to possibly sell – that’s when my hobby changed into much more, taking up at least half of my time, and half of my house!
I’ve only gone through about 10 magazines since May, and with people constantly donating old copies to me, I have enough material for a lifetime. It’s neat because decade to decade even the physical paper changes: issues from the 1980s are my favorite to work with – there is something about the ink and the clay coated pages that reacts really well to the acid, and the photos are also so vibrant. You get these rich greens from the jungle, light blues from the Arctic, and darker blues and purples from the deep ocean. The jewelry really does look like gems, people never guess what they’re actually made of. For now, I am focused on selling in New Hampshire, in the many great local stores and boutiques. I just feel so lucky to not only have the freedom to experiment, but to have a community who appreciates and values that creativity.”