Two years ago, Kimberly Kiefer admired some beautifully beaded belt buckles at a Women’s Expo—but they were out of her price range. Around the same time, a friend showed her how to make a mosaic with broken pottery.
Broken pottery made Kimberly, a runner, think about all the discarded glass she sees by the side of the road on her runs. She began tucking bits of glass in her pack as she ran. Along with an old necklace of her grandmother’s that had lain in her jewelry box for years, she created a decorative buckle of her own.
Out of that first buckle grew a business, Beautifully Broken, individually handcrafted belt buckles, jewelry, patio art, and home décor items made from recycled broken glass.
No longer limited to glass she’s scavenged from the ground, she also uses items from thrift stores and donated bottles and auto windshields to craft her masterpieces. She sterilizes the glass, places it inside a bag, and pounds it with a mallet. To get rid of sharp edges and points, she tumbles the glass in a rock tumbler, then rinses it and thoroughly dries it. Only then is it ready to glue into her newest creation.
Not content with merely creating something lovely, Kiefer longed to use her art to make a difference in the world. Giving unwanted glass new life as sparkling jewels made her yearn to help transform battered women. “Their bodies may have been broken, their souls shattered, but with love and care, each woman has the power to be transformed into something more resilient, more enduring,” she says. She supports the Sojourner Center in Phoenix, Arizona with 10% of her sales.
Visit the Beautifully Broken website to see Kiefer’s unique designs.
Do you know of an artist who recycles found items into things of beauty? Or maybe you create art from cast-offs? Please share in the comments below.