My son plays baseball for GlenOak High School in Plain Township, OH. They are raising money for new uniforms and are looking for donations for their holiday auction. I donated a planter and a couple of pairs of earrings, but I figured I could do something more…
I will be doing a craft show at one of the elementary schools in the district (Warstler Elementary Craft and Vendor Show). I offered to do a line of green and gold spirit jewelry and donate 25% of my sales on it to the GlenOak Diamond Club. They liked the idea, so it’s a go. I spent yesterday and today casting and sanding over 200 stones for jewelry. My hands are a bit sore from that, but the stones are very cool. Keep an eye on my Instagram or Facebook for a sneak peek.
I get asked a lot about how I ended up making jewelry out of concrete of all things. The answer is, I was trying to find a way to avoid creating waste. I started this business making small décor pieces using pigmented concrete like planters, candle holders, and the like. I would always have a small amount left over after the casting. This makes sense, as it’s better to have a little too much than not quite enough, right? Still, it bothered me to waste even that small amount, so the mental wheels started turning about what I could do with the excess.
I found small molds for pendants, intended for casting resin jewelry. The results were interesting. Much like many of my customers, I was concerned about the weight of the concrete. It turned out that this is just an interesting psychological association. Since we always see concrete being used for big, heavy things, we assume that it is heavy by nature. Concrete is not, however, heavier than other stones. In fact, since it is mixed with air during the mixing process, it is porous and lighter than some denser stones. Once I was convinced (and I was able to convince my wife) that concrete pendants and earrings were wearable, I was ready to move on to other challenges.
With jewelry, particularly earrings, minimizing weight is important and thickness is the most obvious way to control weight. But, concrete, if made too thin, can be quite fragile.There are a few things I did to overcome this. First, I developed a concrete mix that is quite hardy. Second, I made my own molds that have enough thickness to be strong, but not so much to be weighty. Third, I mount the stones on stainless steel for reinforcement.
In answer to another frequently asked question, I do not paint the concrete; the color is in the stone itself. Each color that you see in one of my concrete stones is either a separate batch of concrete or the result of several pigments in the mix combining to create new hues. Because of the methods I have developed to pour the concrete, no two stones are alike. Each and every concrete stone is uniquely beautiful and beautifully unique. This can create challenges in making matching pairs of earrings, or even more difficult, creating an entire matched set of jewelry. I cannot go back and make a piece that matches something I made earlier. If you are trying to find a match for a piece you once purchased, it’s possible that I still have some stones from that specific pour, but I cannot guarantee it. Even so, stone poured one after the other can come out wildly different. I am at the whim of physics I cannot always control. This is part of the fun of what I make, but also part of the frustration.
Sometimes I get asked if I will use gold or silver to make my jewelry. The answer is probably not. I quite like the unexpected irony of using these industrial materials of concrete and steel to produce such lovely, delicate pieces of wearable art. I was never in this to make fine jewelry, I’m in it for the art. The jewelry is a happy side effect.
I often feel like I invented this category of concrete jewelry myself, however it turns out that there others out there making their own concrete jewelry. Some may have been inspired by my visible journey on Instagram or Facebook. Others may have had the same inspirations that I had. It’s interesting to see what else is out there. Regardless, you can certainly identify my work. The color combinations, patterns, and swirls are my uniquely Funky Designs.
I know some of you have bought candles from me in the past, and the feedback was great. You wanted more scents and I totally understand that. But, that is not where my creative heart lies. Fortunately, some friends of mine are olfactory wizards and have been concocting some of the best smells EVER! I’m excited to announce that White Fox Black Koi Candle Co are going to start making their amazing candles in my beautiful containers. I believe that they will only have them available at in person shows, since each piece is unique. It’s a work of art for your eyes and your nose! They have an unboxing video to show off the new containers I made exclusively for them on Facebook and on Instagram.
They expect to have our collaborative candles ready for the Made in Ohio Festival that takes place at Hale Farm on September 3-5. Check their events page to find them and let them know I sent you!
Thank you so much for your support with the 2021 Trevor Project fundraiser. As with last year, 25% of the gross sales was donated to the Trevor Project . This organization is aimed at ending teen LGBTQ+ suicide with a hotline operated by trained counselors, as well as outreach materials, ongoing research, and more! Together we raised $188.50 for the charity. Near the end of the month, the board of directors of The Trevor Project announced that they would triple donations, so the organization received $562.50!
The 2021 version of the Pride Bracelet was made up of my pigmented concrete stones mounted on wood settings. The stones were highlighted with adjacent colors on the rainbow. The chain was stainless steel with a steel heart at the end. Leftover stock, as well as other color options, will be available in the Etsy shop.
I have started adding my work to the popular handcrafted site Etsy, beginning with the Concrete & Steel earrings. Rather than making specific pairs for the site, I thought it would be more fun for you to be able to choose your own colors. So, for each listing, you can select one of 24 color palettes for your earring stones.
I will continue to add my work to the site. You can find my Etsy listings here.
Thank you so much for the support you showed during the rainbow pride bracelet fundraiser . The fundraiser is over now, but it will return next June in some form. Together we raised $243.75 for The Trevor Project. Since all donations were being matched by both Warner Media and AT&T for the month, this means that over $730 went to this worthy cause.
Work has already begun on the 2021 Pride Month fundraiser. Meanwhile, here are some of the reviews for the 2020 bracelet:
Really beautiful and wonderful quality. This is a great piece, and it is adjustable! I have really small wrists, and hesitate when buying bracelets because they’re always too big. Because it’s adjustable, I can make it fit. And a portion of the sale goes to a great cause! Color me happy!
Love my Pride bracelet! I have bought many items from Funky Designs, and the artist’s work is impeccable! Very good quality and beautiful!!
I’ve admired this business from afar for awhile now, and finally took the plunge.. The product was gorgeous, and the customer service impeccable. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
This bracelet is lovely. I originally wanted the gold, but it sold out. I bought the silver and I’m in love. The colors are vibrant and will match anything. Eric makes such unique pieces and I love seeing what he comes up with.
Again, thank you for your interest. This was a labor of love and a tribute to the many friends and students that have trusted me during an emotionally challenging time. I love you all and I am proud to call you my friends.