HUNLOCK CREEK — Joe Donnelly made his girlfriend, Kelly Holcomb, a bracelet out of an antique silver fork in 2013.
Little did he know, the fun challenge would form the foundation of a small sideline business called ForkenSpoontastic.
When Holcomb wore the bracelet to work, the white glimmer of the silver and the ornate silverware design around her wrist caught the eye of her employer.
“She (Holcomb) came home and said she had two orders for bracelets,” Donnelly said. “I said, ‘What do you mean orders? We don’t have a business. We don’t have any silver.’”
The couple scrambled to accommodate the request and discovered they both enjoyed twisting forks and spoons into one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.
“At first, we did not know how to bend it (silverware),” Holcomb said. “We did not know what temperature to heat the metal so we could bend it without damaging it.”
The trial-and-error process allowed the couple to tap into a creative talent they did not know they possessed.
Their jewelry-making experiments expanded to include “coin rings” and new designs for pendants made from forks, bracelets made from handles of spoons and forks, rings and more.
Techniques from the past
Holcomb discovered if the blade of a knife is cut off, the decorative handle could be hollowed out and made into a brooch in which a small flower could be inserted.
The couple did some research and found it was a trend for men to wear a lapel pin designed from the handles of butter knives with a flower in the 1920s, Donnelly said.
“Most of what we do has been done before,” Donnelly said.
As the couple researched silverware jewelry, they found the art form had been around since the 1600s.
“Servants use to steal a silver spoon from the families they served to make wedding bands,” Donnelly said. “Pirates use to tap the edges of a coin with a spoon to make a ring for a loved one.”
The couple fueled their growing hobby by buying silverware from estate sales and other retail sale outlets as well as accepting donated sets.
“We have silverware from the late 1700s and 1800s,” Donnelly said.
Working better together
When the engaged couple moved into their new home in 2014, the small, low-ceiling basement became their favorite hangout spot, because it was where they created their jewelry designs together.
“He (Donnelly) calls me the basement dweller,” Holcomb said, jokingly.
Donnelly helps her with some of her creations, but also creates his style of “coin rings” and “spoon rings.”
Coin rings are made by tapping the edge of silver coins, causing them to roll the coin’s images onto the band.
Spoon rings are created by bending a handle from a spoon in a ring shape.
The first time the couple tried to sell their unique jewelry was at the Garden Drive-In in Hunlock Creek. Public response was positive.
The couple continued getting encouraging public feedback from local and out-of-state craft shows. The couple took the next step and formed relationships with area businesses to sell their jewelry.
ForkenSpoontastic can now be found at Donay Jewelers on Hazle Street in Wilkes-Barre; Harvest Moon Hollow Country Store at 1842 Route 118, Sweet Valley; Juniper Hollow at 574 Prichards Road, Hunlock Creek.