Here we are, already halfway through my 12 days of glorious gift ideas from the wonderful local artisans at North Vancouver’s Green Market (located at 7a Lonsdale avenue, behind Raglan’s.)
(above photo courtesy of Green Market).
Today, I’m featuring another jewellery vendor found at the Green Market. There are several at this lovely artisan gift shop, but the wonderful part is that no two are even remotely alike.
Enter Bonnie Hammond’s Bits and Keys’ which fits right in to the whimsical, crafty wonder that Green Market is chock full of. Hammond took some time out of her only day off (Bits & Keys’ is her full-time gig, but she also teaches occupational health and safety and the history of Unions at high schools across the province, as well as running Curious Flea in New Westminster) to fill me in on all the bits and pieces that make up her entrepreneurial endeavour.
The extra apostrophe in Bits and Keys’ is actually intentional- Hammond’s intent is to have the name pronounced Bits and Keyses (as in, word play on bits and pieces). This cute, funky bit of fun falls right in line with her work. Hammond has been making jewellery with upcycled vintage keys, doll furniture (tea cups), and various other found objects for three years now.
(Above: Part of Bits and Keys’ unique display at the Green Market shop. Photo: Stephanie Edmonds/She’s So Eco)
After falling in love with a necklace with a vintage key and chain mail during a trip to San Fransisco, the seed of an idea was born. A little later, when Hammond was trying to come up with cool ideas for raising funds to help send a group to Cuba on a work brigade, the key necklace popped back into her mind and she remembered thinking that she could definitely make jewellery of that sort. After a trip to the Vancouver Flea Market, where she purchased $1000 worth of delightful little odds and ends such as chains, keys, tea cups, clocks, and other trinkets, Hammond created some of her own unique, upcycled pieces- and her vintage key necklaces sold out.
(Above, Teapot necklace, $25, Green Market, and Vintage Key necklace, $25, Green Market. Photo: Stephanie Edmonds/She’s So Eco)
This ‘Eureka’ moment was just what Hammond needed to spark the fire that set Bits and Keys’ into motion. She took a corner of her woodworking father’s table at the famous North Shore Green Market Friday night markets, and within a year, Bits and Keys’ was her full time gig. Since then, Hammond’s line, which is a wonderland of spirited, fun, crafty pieces, has been a huge hit at markets, music festivals, and of course, Green Market. While each piece is one of a kind, Hammond is quick to clarify that if you see something you like, this craftswoman can almost certainly recreate it for you.
Fun and whimsy is at the heart of Bits and Keys’, but Hammond is serious about sustainability. She uses upcycled/recycled items as often as possible, and opts for mostly metals (sometimes glass), utilizing plastic only on the rare occasion that she comes across an irresistible vintage piece that contains it. Hammond also employs a strict zero-waste policy – she uses absolutely everything she can, and when she has something she can’t use, it goes to someone in her wide circle of artisans. What’s more, she takes donations- so before you throw it out, go see her, and remember that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Above, the adorable assortment of Bits and Keys’ handmade earrings at Green Market. Just $10 a pop, these unique beauties feature everything from thimbles to teacups to keys, and as you can see, everything in between! All hooks are purchased new and are lead and nickel free and hypoallergenic. Photo: Stephanie Edmonds/She’s So Eco.
Here are a few of my favourite $10 earrings:
Left-to-right: Teacups, Vintage Keys, and stunning walnut wood scraps from Hammond’s father’s woodwork. (photo: Stephanie Edmonds/She’s So Eco)
And how irresistible are these old thread spools (for a vintage Singer machine, which Hammond notes are detectable due to their thinner spools- the newer ones are thicker.)
Oh, and check out this darling tea ball, adorned with trinkets added by Hammond’s skilled hands, just $20 with any purchase of Tea Lani teas at Green Market (there are only a couple of these left, and they’re all different!)
(photos: Stephanie Edmonds/She’s So Eco)
In case all of this wasn’t enough, Hammond frequently does custom orders, turning family heirlooms into wearable art, or shopping for customers to create something based on their vision. One such example is this custom made spoon necklace, which Hammond was commissioned to hand-stamp an entire banana bread recipe onto. How cute is that? (photo: Bonnie Hammond).
Another intriguing aspect about Hammond is that she takes Bits and Keys’ into homes! Yep, she does parties where she brings her bag of tricks (which, she says, is “like eighty pounds”, and is always on hand for her to tinker with at any time or place), and guests can bring their odds and ends, broken jewellery, special treasures, etc. They sit around drinking wine and making jewellery- sounds like a super fun girl’s night in!
Last but not least, here I am in my beloved vintage key necklace from Bits and Keys’.
I’ve only just scratched the surface of this remarkable, hardworking woman and her business, so make sure to check out the selection of Bits and Keys’ at Green Market, and visit them online via their Facebook page.
Who will be featured for Day 7? Come back and visit to find out!
With local love,