15 Things is a new series on CRAFT that will feature amazing people, in their own words. The first artist to be profiled is Melissa Abercrombie of Blue Ribbon Salvage. She creates jewelry and sculptures using vintage treasures that she lovingly collects and curates. One Act of Shameless Self Promotion 1: BlueRibbonSalvage.com This is where I share my work. I am constantly making new and unique pieces; each one-of-a-kind and carrying a narrative that is awaiting your arrival. Follow me on facebook and see where you can find Blue Ribbon Salvage next! Two Mistakes You’ve Made in the Past 2: Bought a couple things under the false assumption that someone knew what they were selling and took it at face value. Make sure you know your materials and do your homework. 3: The biggest mistakes I’ve made I’d rather not write here. But here’s a less painful one- I regret not buying two AMAZING Sutro bath swimsuits at an auction once, I kick myself every time I think about it. Three Things That Make Your Work Unique 4: The variety of places from which I source my materials. From Eastern Europe to South America, to the Far East. I search far and wide to procure interesting and startling items. 5: A passion for retaining history and salvaging artifacts from obscurity. 6: Thoughtfulness. I try to find items specific to certain people. I really attempt to present things through a unique lens. I suppose that since we are all individuals it’s just my slant on things that make them special. Four Tools You Love to Use 7: My eyes. A large part of my craft is acquiring unique and unusual vintage pieces. These findings inspire whatever the piece will become. I rely on imagery, patina, age and repetition of form to derive the best new incarnation of these historic items. 8: My Macbook. Every time I find something new I need to begin researching where the piece came from and what it’s significance is. Anyone whose ever been to my booth knows every piece comes with a story. Crafting the history of a piece to the best of my ability is definitely part of my creative process. 9: Scissors~ I have no less than 8 pairs at any given time and have “special” ones for “special” projects. Most of my tools are antiques and my scissors are no exception. 10: Curiosity, I don’t leave home without it. Everyday I am lead on some Googling goose-chase, wandering about kooky Bay Area haunts, or on a scavenger hunt at the Sebastopol Flea Market. I like following my nose. Five Inspirations 11: My Aunt Betty~ a school teacher/ artist taught every child in my family to conserve creatively. Every can lid became a Christmas ornament, even paper towels got a second, third use. She turned everything into something special and I value these early ideas of stewardship she instilled. (Just last weekend my family and a handy friend turned a 1930′s enameled sign into a really functional television stand! ) 12: Traveling. Being a poor backpacker early in my adult life has provided me with a sense of history and place, as well as a memory full of great adventures. Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic is a place I wander back to in daydreams every now and then. 13: My boys! They keep everything young and fresh. Just when I think I’ve seen everything, I’m reminded that I haven’t seen everything from every direction! 14: Politics- I know it doesn’t sound like a source of inspiration but it is a field I challenge myself to be involved in as a creative person. Artists and crafters are excellent problem solvers (generally) and there is great need for creative solutions in government. 15: Old schtuff. I love when good design is implemented in tools, accolades, furniture, clothes, advertising, games… it’s really less about function to me and more about the design. I also LOVE the challenge to turn something antiquated into something functional.