I remember making potato stamps at art class in primary school. They were a lot of fun but never would I have imagined that the humble potato could be made into jewelry. Indeed, Gail Larkin of Las Cruces, New Mexico actually got her inspiration from a potato necklace her daughter made in day care when she was four.
Fast forward several years, Gail and her husband retired and "Spudz : Jewelry Made From Potatoes" was born. Gail's can-do attitude came from her career as a special education teacher and years of working as an advocate for people living with disabilities and special needs. Looking for potential and creative solutions has long been her strength.
She uses all kinds of potatoes but doesn't find sweet potatoes as effective as they don't dry well. She dries her various potato shapes in a home desiccator or dehydrator. This takes several days which is far faster than air drying the slices. She then paints them and preserves them with fixatives. The resultant beads are very hard. She adds different vintage beads from flea market finds to create her unique eco designs.
People have been admiring her colourful and unusual creations at her local Farmers' Market. She naturally has had to field the inevitable quips! She said, "I provide comic relief. People look at my jewelry and ask if they can eat it when they get hungry. My answer is an emphatic no, unless you want to break a few teeth!". Gail also added that if she had a dollar every time she hears "Can I eat it if I get hungry?", she'd be rich. One kid actually bit one necklace! Another time, two Irish ladies bought her potato necklaces as they said t they "had to" as good Irish lasses!
What a truly creative collection!! Gail doesn't have a website yet, but if you want more information or custom orders, email her at g.a.larkin@ comcast.net
The Beading Gem's Journal