ABOUT VALERIE LABOSKI

OWNER, MIDDLE SISTER DESIGNS

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed making things with my hands. As a child, I immersed myself in drawing and painting, and I went to art camps as often as possible. I particularly loved making costumes. I would draw bunnies and kittens in crayon on paper and cut out masks out of them for my friends and me.

 

By the time I enrolled in college, I knew I wanted to major in fine art. I experimented with various media: ceramics, photography, drawing, painting, and sculpture. It was not until my senior internship that I discovered my passion for jewelry. I fell in love with the feel of metal and its ability to be melded and shaped. I always imagined I would work with silver, but my husband's bluegrass music drew me to the metals of instrument strings--their rustic beauty, their unique flexibility, and their recylability. I especially appreciate their sustainability. For as much as I value the making of art, I value the preservation of earth. Making jewelry with recylable instrument strings allows me to create and conserve at the same time.

 

Today, I revive used instrument strings collected from friends, professional musicians, and businesses and transform them into wearable art. I enjoy the process of giving strings a new life, an encore performance if you will. As musicians shape simple chord progressions into intricate songs, I shape simple instrument strings into elegant, striking designs. While each string carries the history of its musicial life, my hope is that each piece strikes a new, meaningful chord with its new owner.

 

I hope you enjoy wearing this instrumental art as much as I enjoy working with this important part of our material culture.