Tara Caron doesn’t look at magazines and newspapers the way most people do. Instead of sizing up the stories offered to determine which to read first, she goes right to the pages filled with colorful pictures — because she’s looking for the hues that work best in her jewelry.
That photo of a garden scene or that crazy comic strip can be made into beads that can be strung into beautiful bracelets and earrings in an amazing mix of color.
A teacher by training and a naturalist by instinct, she loves not only making the jewelry but the recycling aspect of it. The paper in each publication comes from a tree, and by turning that paper into something useful, “it gets to live on,” she said.
Caron, a third-grade teacher at Hilton Head Island Elementary School for Creative Arts, took up jewelry-making two years ago and has tried her hand at selling it at farmers markets and the like, but found that unsatisfactory.
“People just wanted to eat and watch the fireworks,” she said. Luckily, she now has an opportunity to display her jewelry in a store.
Beginning this month, some of her pieces will go on sale on at artWare, which recently moved from Main Street Village on Hilton Head to the new Shelter Cove Towne Centre.
Caron uses shish kabob skewers to make her jewelry. She wraps the colored paper around the skewers, first in the shape of a rectangle then in the shape of a triangle, and glues it.
She uses an embossing dabber, then sprinkles a power and dries it with a dryer similar to a hair dryer, with the heat determining the color. “I never know how the color is going to come out,” Caron said.
She recently made some beads with a nail polish lacquer and found that technique resulted in brighter colors, which she liked.
The beads come in all sorts of colors and combinations — green, blue, brown, red, yellow and orange — a real rainbow.
Before stringing them, Caron puts little silver caps on either end of each bead.
“I’ll make a whole bunch of beads, then I make a whole bunch of jewelry,” she said.
Caron was wearing a green print matched set of bracelet and earrings on the day she was demonstrating her craft for a visitor and said they were her favorite. The items were made from pages of a March 2012 issue of Hilton Head Monthly, which featured a lot of greenery.
She also scavenges a lot of good paper for her projects from Pink Magazine. She particularly likes that magazine’s pages for their solid colors.
As for newspapers, she’ll take the comics in The Island Packet.
When she started out, Caron said she got help from her mother-in-law, Anne Caron, who lives in Bluffton and who she said makes beautiful jewelry. “She taught me some tricks,” Tara Caron said.
Caron said her mother, Bev Adams, who also lives in Bluffton, is the nature lover in the family and appeals to her naturalist side.
“She was a teacher,” Caron said, ‘and she was catching monarch butterflies (in a field) at our house for her class. I have pictures of them hatching on my brother’s face.”
Caron credits both women with influencing her own unique jewelry style.
“Between both of our moms, I’m very lucky,” she said, “because all the things I’m interested in, I have support from both of them.”
Caron met her husband, Tate, when they were in the seventh grade in Messina, N.Y., where their parents knew each other from high school. When the couple’s first child, daughter Aja, was born, both sets of grandparents retired and moved to the Hilton Head area.
Aja is now 11, and the couple’s son, Elijah, is 9. The family lives within minutes of the school where Caron teaches.
Caron’s passion for naturalism isn’t slowing down. She’s now working on a certificate to become a “master naturalist.” And she’s hoping that work only feeds her passion for making jewelry out of unlikely objects.
“It looks like it’s all coming together,” Caron said, as her jewelry is about to hit stores. “I’m scared and excited.”