Some people look at old packaging and books as junk. Film editor turned jewelry designer Susan Forker sees treasure. Her business – joeyfivecents – transforms vintage paper from old novels, dictionaries and manuals into everyday, wearable jewelry.  

“I never scan or duplicate, which I consider very important as it preserves the integrity of the image,” says Susan, who works in a Civil War-era barn in Doylestown. “One of my favorite steps is when I hunt for new imagery … I am very particular and thrive on scouring flea markets, thrift stores and the like for my latest collection. joeyfivecents allows me to present these fantastic images in a modern way.”

Susan’s jewelry pieces – she calls them “Joeys” – gives new life to images which might otherwise be forgotten. Her most recent line was inspired by the textures and colors of the Bucks County landscape. Working with epoxy clay, rich-colored pigments and custom molds, these pieces evoke an organic, earthy vibe that celebrates nature's beauty and imperfections through botanical imagery.

Florance and Leah

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Julie Bradley-Norton’s jewelry business started with a pair of leather pants that no longer fit. After holding out hope that she would fit into them again (who can relate?), Julie eventually gave up, got out her scissors and began cutting – voila…up-cycled leather jewelry!

“I love the feel of the leather in my hands and its endless possibilities,” says Julie. “I meticulously cut each piece by hand with an exacto knife and cuticle scissors. I then paint one side with a metallic paint because I want contrast to wear the piece with dark or light outfits.” The result is a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.  

Julie’s company name, “Florance and Leah,” honors her grandmothers – one a social butterfly immigrant and the other an artistic, quiet farm girl. Although both have passed, they continue to inspire this self-described “Jersey girl.”  

Salvage Arts

Rich Kriebs isn’t above doing some “dumpster diving” if that’s what it takes to secure an interesting piece of vintage wood. He uses the wood, along with old hardware and other vintage finds, to create unique pieces of folk art.  

“I’m a scavenger at heart, so hunting for the materials is half the fun,” Rich says. “I gather old wood from a variety of sources as they pop up…my basement is filled with wood in a wide variety of colors and textures.”

Each of Rich’s pieces maintains its “as-found” textures, patinas and colors. No new paint is applied, only a flat clear-coat to seal and protect the old surfaces. 

“I draw my own patterns and select the materials to assure that each piece is a one-of-a-kind piece of primitive folk art,” he says. “My mother was an artist, and I guess I inherited some of her creativity.”


Naturally Yours

Susan Nonn has been hooked on gourds for nearly 20 years – ever since she attended the Ohio Gourd Society’s festival in 1999. She bought five gourds and a gourd crafting book that day and a passion was born.

 “It was through the American Gourd Society’s website that I found local gourd growers and tips about crafting gourds,” Susan says. “My earliest creations were simple birdhouses and bowls with embellished rims. As my skills improved, so did my appreciation of the natural gourd. I always try to enhance the gourd without hiding its natural shape and beauty.”

 Many of Susan’s designs are inspired by nature and are embellished with natural materials such as stone beads, pods and feathers. For color, she uses dyes or inks that penetrate the gourd surface but also enhance the fundamental gourd patterns. Her products range from functional items to whimsical seasonal creations.  

“I am fortunate to have discovered a craft for which I have a personal passion,” she says.

Sandra Webberking Originals

Turns out gardens grow more than flowers. They also grow businesses. That’s what Sandra Webberking discovered when she began creating whimsical sculptures for her much-loved gardens.

 “Nature is a profound source of inspiration to me and my work,” Sandra says. “I am especially inspired by the wonderful rhythm and lines of trees and their branches.”

 Sandra recycles materials for her sculptures whenever possible – all the better to preserve our natural resources. “I value the process of finding objects, listening to their stories and reincarnating them into the creatures they will become,” she says. “We live in such a disposable age, and I’m trying to show that reusing is not only environmentally friendly, it’s also fun. Oftentimes, finding the objects is as much fun as making the piece.”