Meet the Maker: Christina and Ian Lacey of Retuned Jewelry
Making jewelry from used guitar strings gives Christina and Ian another connection to the music and artists they love. Because of the various alloys used to make guitar strings, they are extremely difficult to recycle. At least 700 tons of strings end up in the dump every year. All of their jewelry is made from used, repurposed guitar strings. They work with local music shops and musicians to collect used strings that would have otherwise been thrown away. Beautiful, sustainable jewelry, win-win in our book!
Let's start at the beginning. When did you discover you wanted to make repurposed jewelry?
I originally started making jewelry from one of those all inclusive starter kits. Then I wanted to put my own spin on the designs and started to incorporate used bike tubes. Though we love cycling, music is a much bigger part of our lives. We’re friends with several amazing guitar players. Most of them were simply throwing away their guitar strings when they were changed. We wondered why they didn’t recycle them. After some research, we found out that because each manufacturer uses different combinations of alloys, guitar strings are extremely difficult to recycle. Over 700 tons wind up in the trash every year. With our jewelry, we not only help keep the string from ending up in the dump, but we also get to turn somebody else’s art into our art.
Your work definitely registers with music lovers. Where do you find your inspiration for your designs?
Our continued inspiration comes from our musician friends as well as the wonderful artists we have met. It’s in the stories they tell and the emotions they evoke. It comes from the countless hours of dedication they put into doing what they love. We feel all the love, passion and hard work these strings have been a part of. Our jewelry gives the strings new life and allows their stories to live on.
Have you ever made a piece that you refused to part with?
We have a few special pieces we’ve made from friend’s strings that obviously hold special meaning to us. These pieces will remain in our personal collection. We’ve also come across different colored strings and made some sport themed bracelets. I have a yellow and blue University of Michigan themed bracelet as well as an orange and blue Broncos bracelet.
What is your favorite thing about your workspace?
We’re surrounded by inspiration. Our walls are covered with autographed memorabilia from some of our favorite bands. Most of the items are from shows we have attended. We have items like set lists, posters, handwritten lyric sheets, cd’s, albums, drum heads, drum sticks and even guitars. Anytime we need some inspiration, all we have to do is look up at our walls.
What characteristic do you admire most in other makers?
Obviously we’re all creative in our own way. But I think the one thing I really admire is how everyone looks out for each other. Whether it’s giving advice on what shows to attend, display ideas, marketing help or anything else. We’re like one big family always trying to help each other in whatever way we can.
Meet Christina and Ian at our Firefly Handmade Fall Market, Sept. 14, 15, & 16 at the the 31st Annual Downtown Boulder Fall Fest on the world famous Pearl Street Mall! To see more, visit: