Back to Basics DIY Sustainability 

Pushing My Buttons


Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but the accessories re-crafted by Deborah Sanderson are those shiny rock’s new rival. In her quaint live/work studio in the Artscape Wychwood Barns, Sanderson displays her work for all to see. She had an open house last month that drew in waves of fascinated shoppers.

Recently, there was a recall of jewelry in the U.S. issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) due to high levels of cadmium. For detailed information about cadmium health risks, visit this article posted by CBC News about another recent recall. In Canada, there have been jewelry recalls from retailers Garage, Dollarama and other various dollar stores between the year 2008 and early 2010 for excessive levels of lead. A majority of these products were manufactured in China and imported from various Canadian and American locations.


When asked about her opinion on these types of imports and purchases, Sanderson questioned how safe these products ever were and, “Who knows what kind of metal composition is in it?”

With accessories being so affordable, it’s easy for tweens and shoppers to keep buying and buying these products as if they are simply disposable commodities.

“We’ve kind have lost the idea of buying well-made products that last a long time,” said Sanderson. “It’s too easy to buy disposable things and move on to something else.”

That’s why luckily for us, we’ve stumbled upon Sanderson’s craftsmanship of jewelry making. She uses and reuses old jewels, buttons and metals to form these beautiful, delicate accessories that vary from buttons, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, cuff-links to rings.


The splendour of Sanderson’s work is that with recycling old pieces of jewelry and buttons, it’s as though she can return its value and allow the jewelry to last forever. She has even taken wedding rings after divorces and restored them into something else that can still maintain its value but serve as a precious gift to a child. As for her stock of buttons, Sanderson has “little old ladies looking” for nifty pieces and has even been paid in silver before!


As a daughter of a carpenter, Sanderson found herself always playing with tools. She’s been making jewelry for 15 years after she came across a jewelry program at Georgian College that sparked an interest in her. Sanderson’s studio is a live/workspace offered by the Artscape development.

If you wish to purchase these precious products or chat about a custom piece, visit Sanderson at her studio at 37 Benson Ave in the Artscape Wychwood Barns.

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  • http://www.vidafine.com ben

    Our consumerism culture devalues everything from food to jewellery… it's nice to see people who stay true to the quality of what they produce.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.loo Eugene Loo

    Local, hand-made, hand-crafted, sustainable and eco-friendly. How can you go wrong? I've been to this store before and these products really are one of a kind. It's great to see artists push for creating such art pieces.

    If the larger corporate retail companies took this same stance, perhaps the public would take notice.