The Art of Assemblage

A local jeweler transforms throwaway objects into wearable art.

By Alice Alsup May 14, 2014

Lorraine Richardson is a hunter and a storyteller. She has spent the last five years repurposing vintage oddities into unique pieces of jewelry for her business Bits and Bobs, and she relishes “the hunt."

“I try to find things that have a story," says Richardson. "Even if I don’t know what that is, I can imagine, and I give [items] a new story.” 

All of Richardson's pieces are one of a kind, sourced from found objects like old chandelier crystals, scraps of lace, pearl buttons, antique keys—you know, the stuff you'd probably throw away. "I don’t ever replicate anything," she says. "I can’t!”

But the art isn't just in the objects. It's in Richardson's ability to incorporate a variety of elements into each piece with a touch of surprise and whimsy. 

Shadowbox assemblage necklace, $150

Drawer pull necklace, $40

Richardson runs Bits and Bobs out of her home studio in the Woodlands, and she, her husband, Bryan, and sometimes even their daughter Kelsey, take her wares to markets, fairs, and events all over town. The first weekend in May alone, she had stands at both Pop Shop Houston and Sunday Streets HTX. But Lorraine also looks at shows “as more than just a venue to sell.” She’s building a following of interested clientele who wouldn’t normally search her out online, which is where you'll find her Etsy shop and Facebook page.

In her life before Bits, Richardson ran a small newspaper and worked as an event planner, experience that has served her well in her new field.

"[As] a person who used to plan [events], I knew what kinds of markets there were for what I do," says Richardson. She even runs her own bi-weekly farmer's market-style event called the Feasts of Artisans. At this Woodlands event you'll find all kinds of food, arts, and crafts, and unlike many larger artisan-craft events, this market features only locally made products. 

Richardson is eager to bring Bits and Bobs to every kind of event in Houston. You'll see her at plenty of this summer's outdoor markets (like this one), and if you're really into her art, she'll teach you how to do it. Sign up for her soldering class (soldering iron required!), which will be at the Texas Art Asylum in late June, here

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