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Alisa Hopper Repurposes Vintage Pieces for All Things Tinsel Jewelry

Jan 25, 2017 11:00AM ● By Jordan Venema

Something Borrowed

February 2017
By Jordan Venema
Photos courtesy of All Things Tinsel

Some great ideas are born out of necessity, and others are born through struggle, and then there are those that quite literally are born because of pregnancy. No, we’re not talking children here, but rather All Things Tinsel, a unique line of bridal jewelry created by Clovis resident Alisa Hopper in 2009.

“I was eight months pregnant with my third child, and all three pregnancies were really difficult so I was on bed rest. I was bored, and I really wanted to do something as a hobby,” explains Hopper, a musician by trade.

The painful reality for the piano teacher and worship leader was that she could do very little while lying down, least of all play music. “So I just started making necklaces from old vintage pieces that I’d collected. And I opened an Etsy shop thinking I couldn’t possibly keep all this jewelry. It was silly to have it all.”

Once Hopper began the Etsy shop, the business quickly fell into place. Etsy had recently expanded its bridal section, and “orders started coming in for bridal jewelry, custom orders,” explains Hopper, who had not intended to limit herself to any particular style. But when customers’ wedding photos were featured in popular bridal magazines and blogs, her jewelry received even more attention, and Hopper’s inbox was flooded with requests for similar jewelry.

“It was just the right place at the right time,” she says. “Honestly, I didn’t think I was starting a business. I just thought of it as a hobby.”

A hereditary hobby, perhaps. Hopper is possessed by the same itch that compels an engineer to take apart a radio and put it back together, just to see how it works. She’s a tinkerer herself, and her kids call her Tinker Bell. Even her jewelry is made from dissembling and reassembling strands. 

“I do honestly think it’s a hereditary thing. My dad is a builder, a general contractor, and my brother is a woodworker and stained glass artist and blacksmith,” says Hopper. “I taught myself how to make all the jewelry by relying on YouTube tutorials, and I really didn’t know anything about it, except that coming from a family of artists, you just figure stuff out.”

What Hopper figured out was how to create necklaces, bracelets and hair vines by taking apart and piecing together vintage pieces, created by overlapping and interweaving strands of different sizes.

“I went with the pearls and crystals and the rhinestone chain, and I’m assembling and cutting and mixing different pieces, up to 15 different strands of pearls or crystals or enamel flowers. Things like that.”

“Different decades have different styles,” continues Hopper, “so I will send photos to customers of different options on how to put pieces together.” While she collaborates with customers on custom pieces, exchanging ideas and photos, she’s also often given creative license.

“Some customers will say, ‘You’re the artist. Do your thing,’” Hopper says.

Though she no longer is committed to bed rest, Hopper is still doing her thing from home. She converted a downstairs bedroom into a studio, a tinkering workshop where she solders strands together, exploring different designs, even branching out into a secondary jewelry business in 2015, Timber and Chain.

“Timber and Chain is nature- inspired jewelry, so I work with gemstones and rocks and shells. I use real chain for that, so precious metals like gold and silver.”

She keeps plenty busy. “Bridal jewelry styles change every couple years, so you have to change every two years or so, too. I have to reinvent what I’m making and showing.” That, she says is the only difficult part. But the silver lining, she knows that marriage is never going out
of style, and there will always be a demand for her jewelry.

All Things Tinsel 

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