Joy Sparks Designs

Blog

How I Work

I get asked all of the time what I will do when I run out of typewriters. It’s a good question. Typewriters are certainly not a renewable resource. In fact, finding typewriters is probably the hardest part of making the jewelry.

DSC_1426.jpg

Once you find a typewriter, removing the keys and getting them ready for jewelry making is a long process. The first step in creating any piece of jewelry is the pane staking  process of removing the keys, following the many steps to get them flat, and then cleaning and polishing them.  My dad is a genius and this process down to a science.  I take no credit for this part.

IMG_5019.jpeg
Handmade vintage typewriter key jewelry

Once I receive the keys with flat backs and clean faces, I arrange them in the order I like best.  Sometimes, I use only black keys, sometimes I mix all colors, and usually I use a black and light style.  My favorite is an all black and white bracelet.  Pure white keys are hard to come by though because time and wear changes the color. 

Making handmade typewriter key jewelry.

I like to use my artistic design to arrange the keys, but I love it when a customer has an idea and I can see it and make it happen.  Of course, sometimes it's simply based what which keys I have in stock in which letter. For me, sitting down at my jewelry table and assembling the jewelry really feels like therapy. There's something about how methodical it is that sort of makes everything else go away.   

I love to use all different makes and models of typewriters in one bracelet. Of course, I have my favorite styles of typewriters too, usually based on font. A Smith Corona with a serif font remains my all time favorite.

DSC_1473.jpg

One of the things about using vintage typewriter keys, is that it makes them unique and eclectic. Every piece is personal. It takes time and commitment both to the process and the artistic design, which is part of designing the perfect gift. I have been making typewriter key jewelry for so long, that my inventory is very large, which means I’m able to accommodate almost any custom order.  

typewriter-key-jewelry-making.jpg

It takes patience and time to make typewriter key jewelry. There isn't a factory that produces the jewelry that I ship out. You cannot simply go to Hobby Lobby or Walmart and buy the supplies. If you received a product from JSD, my hands have touched it. It's personal.

Jason Aten Comment
Welcome To The New Store!

For years, I’ve been making handcrafted, custom jewelry out of keys from vintage typewriters I find at estate sales, auctions, and just about anywhere people are letting go of old things that no longer have a place. I sort of see my role as transforming them into something new, something beautiful, and finding them a new place.

Vintage Typewriter Key Jewelry handmade in Michigan. Typewriter key bracelets, necklaces, pendants, lockets and earrings.

For most of the past 10 years, I’ve sold these pieces at craft shows, boutique shops, and in my own Etsy store. During that time I’ve been so blessed by the response of people all over the world who are looking for the perfect gift, or a piece that reminds them of a simpler time and simpler technology.

A few months ago I started dreaming about having my own little corner out here on the internet, a place where I could share my jewelry, but also share my story. After a lot of prayer, planning, and even more hard work, we finally launched this store in October. Two and a half months later, I am so glad you found this place, and have followed at least part of the journey.

You see, making typewriter key jewelry isn’t just about taking apart old typewriters, filing down the keys and attaching them into the perfect bracelet, or watch, or earrings. For me, it’s about more. It’s about turning something forgotten into something beautiful, and breathing new life into something old.

Vintage Typewriter Key Jewelry handmade in Michigan. Typewriter key bracelets, necklaces, pendants, lockets and earrings.

In fact, as time has gone on, I’ve discovered that even more than forgotten technology, I’m passionate about my business making an impact in the lives of forgotten men and women who are incarcerated.

You see, every time I make and sell a piece of jewelry, it enables me to spend time teaching and serving inmates at the Muskegon Correctional Facility. Every time I find a new place for that old typewriter, I’m really creating a social impact business that is helping hundreds of prepare to return to their families.

il_fullxfull.805320553_2kpa.jpg

I sort of see my role as helping to transform them into something new, something beautiful and helping them find a new place in this world. A new home.

That’s really why I created this new store. I hope you’ll spend some time looking around, and of course, I hope you’ll find something you love. In the meantime, I’m thankful you’re here, and I’m thankful we get to share this part of the story.

Jason AtenComment