Sunday, October 12, 2008

Recycle-y Surprise

The trunk show in Dallas was loads of fun, but I didn't get much else accomplished while preparing for it. So today is the first day I've had to get back into the studio. While I wanted to be making things, I realized I really needed to pare down the ginormously erratic pile of tins that was rapidly becoming a hazard--like the garage isn't dangerous enough already. So I resigned myself to an afternoon of heavy duty leather gloves and my trusty mallet. All was going along swell, albeit slowly, when I got to a couple of vintage-y lids. These are the sorts of lids that are pretty unusual in this day and age, but seem to be fairly common at one point. These lids were all round and slightly domed. A couple of them have really groovy shaped metal knobs that I've yet to figure out how to use. Anyway, these lids are double layered with another piece of metal lining the domed part to form a flat surface against the tin itself. I've learned the best way to deconstruct these is to take a sturdy, pointy tool and pry the inside layer up and then run the tool around the circle to release it from the domed part of the lid. As I pulled up the first lining today I noticed color on the underside as I was separating the two pieces. What I found was this:

It looks to be either overruns or misprinted metal that was apparently seen as valuable enough to bother to save and reuse for applications such as these double layered lids. I love the name RAYGLO laxative tablets. You gotta wonder what creative team came up with that one. Anyway, it was so cool to get a printed tin surprise. I had a second lid almost identical to the one this piece came from, except the knob was round instead of egg shaped. Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed when that metal liner came out blank on both sides. Bummer.

I went back to the rather boring and repetitive process of cutting up and flattening tins and didn't think too much more about my fun surprise. As I was about to start cleaning up to get ready to go to a back yard BBQ, I ran across this old lid in a bin of already deconstructed pieces. I realized it was getting scratched so I had better pull it out and flatten it so it didn't take too much more of a beating. As I was separating the inside and outside layers I realized that I'd had this tin for almost the entire time I've been making jewelry and I never bothered to take it apart. If I had, I would have realized months ago that there is sometimes treasure within my treasures. Now that I know that I'm going to be uber-obsessed with finding these vintage tins just so I can see if there's any fabulous patterns waiting to be discovered on the reverse sides.

The revelation did get me thinking about whether or not a company today would reuse tin in this way or if they would just scrap the overruns and mistakes. Somehow I think they would just chuck it all. Since I don't think there are many tins this intricately constructed anymore, I suspect I'll never know. What I do know, and what these pictures prove, is that is not how it has always been. Personally, I hope we get back to what seems like a more sane approach to resources like this. I'll be posting in a few days about another curious use of metal packaging, but for now suffice it to say that I think we are scarily wasteful.

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