Love her or loathe her, you have to agree: Taylor Swift is a brilliant artist when it comes to marketing her music, connecting with her Swifties, and creating vinyl that is perfect for jewelry—and that is why artist Bethany Nixon falls firmly into that “love” category.
Nixon has been making jewelry from vintage and uniquely colored vinyl records since 2006, buying her stock from Detroit-area music labels, vintage record stores, and directly from major artists. For Swift, Nixon made numerous trips to a discount retailer—all for this one record that had the perfect colors for a new collection of jewelry, Nixon says.
“The color combination on Lover—they are sea glass and pale pink—made me fall in love with those colors. I had to do a whole line,” Nixon says.
Every single one found a home—something even Taylor herself would be impressed with as a creator. “I love having a sellout,” Nixon says.
The same goes for Foo Fighters, who put out a special blue album only at indie record stores. Billie Eilish also had an amazing glow-in-the-dark album that also was sold only at that same discount store, Nixon says, requiring many more trips to the chain to pick up copies for her work.
It’s a labor of love—and one that has caused her some pain. Carpel tunnel forced the jewelry-maker to come up with a new technique over the past few years: She works with people to help her machine-cut the shapes she wants after she comes up with the design. Nixon still completes the work personally, sanding the edges, drilling the holes, and assembling the finished product.
Nixon also makes other handmade goods including notebooks, embroidered arts, clothing, and accessories from vintage finds. Her work is sold throughout the Midwest as well as through her website. Nixon also serves a member of Handmade Detroit, which organizes the revered Detroit Urban Craft Fair for crafters, makers, and jewelers of all kinds.
Nixon recently opened her first retail store, Reware Vintage, in Berkley, a Detroit suburb. She has sold her new-to-you accessories and apparel for years on websites such as eBay, but she saw opportunities in creating a brick-and-mortar location in 2021.
Nixon says her own work is a mix of the new and vintage pieces she buys to make jewelry or things she discovers in her own shop that she can remake. She also takes record albums of her favorite artists, such as Prince, and makes them into one-of-a-kind jewelry.
“I’ve always been a crafter and maker. So years ago my brother brought me a stack of records that were doubles he had collected and gave them to me, saying he figured I could make something out of them,” Nixon says. “It’s become an obsession—trying to figure out what I could make out of them. Jewelry is my favorite.”
Finding ways to recycle items is what Nixon says drives her jewelry designs, and looking for ways to connect what she makes with the people that wear it is why she enjoys being a retailer, online and especially in person.
That is when a client tells her a story about a concert they remember or meeting a musician in person—those moments are ideal to turn into jewelry, she says. Nixon personally rocks that pair of Prince earrings she made on a regular basis.
“I love connecting with people, and I love the passion people have over these items. I’m so glad to help them find it and have it back in their life,” Nixon says.
Top: Bethany Nixon received a pile of vintage vinyl from her brother, which launched her interest in creating record jewelry as part of her handmade goods (all photos courtesy of Bethany Nixon).@jckmagazine
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