Ocean City native Ashley Warley might be a starving artist, but she has plenty of silverware.
"People leave me bags of silverware behind the (coffee) bar all the time," said Warley, a barista at Who's On First Cafe in Ocean City. "When I come in to work, there will be a bag of silverware, a phone number and a little note about what they'd like to see me do with it."
Warley is an artist who finds and repurposes old objects and transforms them into jewelry and home decor. Her main artistic medium is metal, or more precisely forks, spoons and knives.
"A woman recently brought me in this heirloom set of silverware with a beautiful tomato server included," she said. "She wanted a couple necklaces for all of her daughters."
Warley hammers, bends, saws and files the utensils to create wearable works of art, such as a necklace made out of a fork with two tines shaped to represent the two-finger peace sign or earrings made out of flat spoon disks.
Aside from having silverware given to her, she also buys it in thrift shops or finds it sticking out of the sand - seriously.
"The piece was meant to be mine, it found me," Warley said as she rubbed an intricate pendent made out of the tine end of a fork. "My husband saw something shiny sticking out of the sand, grabbed it and it was the handle to that fork. It's incredible once you start looking what the universe provides for you. It's really crazy."
Prior to working with the silverware, Warley worked with glass. Her boss at the coffee shop, Who's on First Cafe owner Jen Bailey, was the one who inspired her to incorporate cutlery into her crafts.
"When she changed out the dinner silverware, she plopped them up on the bar and said, 'Here, make something pretty for me,'" Warley said. "So I did. I went home, and I started hammering and sawing. What's appealing (about) working with the metal is no two bend the same, so they're all one of a kind, and the more (you) love it, rub it and wear it, the more clear the tarnish becomes. They are also surprisingly light."
Warley is selling her silverware jewelry at the Ocean City Farmer's Market this summer, which runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday at Ocean City Tabernacle.
She also will sell furniture and home decor made of recycled objects, such as bird feeders made of teacups and saucers on a metal rod.
"I'm all about recycling and repurposing," she said. "If I inspire someone to recycle, then that's just as good as selling a piece of jewelry."
Contact Elisa Lala:
To learn more
Ashley Warley is a vendor at the Ocean City Farmer's Market, Wednesdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Sept. 4, Ocean City Tabernacle, 550 Wesley Ave. Her work is available at etsy.com/shop/nediaarts. Custom and commissioned orders are accepted. Message the artist via Etsy.