Architectural Salvage Yard Heaven

Photo: Nova Colette BronsteinNova Bronstein - As an artist almost always looking to make something from something else, I'm always smitten when I can make it over to Ohmega in Berkeley, CA. This architectural salvage yard has ample supply of inspiration! 

Whether you're looking for items with which to decorate your home or, as I more often do, looking for motif-rich items from which to find reference for my art and jewelry making, you'll find myriad items that catch your eye at this or any other architectural salvage yard. 

Antique Steel Grate: Nova Colette BronsteinSmall items cover door knobs and pulls, skeleton keysornamental hardware, all variety of metal placards and plates to medium sized items like plaster sconces, tiffany light fixtures, sinks, and large items like claw-foot tubs, pairs and pairs of french doors, sheets of marble and granite waiting to become countertops. The possibilities are near endless.

When I go to Ohmega, I never know what I'm going to find. Take for example the antique grate pictured (left) for the starting point for a piece or collection of pieces of jewelry. I love to work this way and often reference grate or steel-work when making my jewelry pieces. It's not much of a stretch to imagine interpreting this grate on a smaller scale. Say you shrink down the frame to an inch + half or two inches in length, and make it out of sterling silver or copper wire. The circular or flourish details could become accents out of metal or colored beads... Are you starting to see jewelry pieces taking form?  

Photo: Nova Colette Bronstein

Other times when I go to Ohmega, I find I'm most inspired by combinations of colors I see grouped together. Like with the grouping of rusted steam radiators pictured here. To me the play of tone-on-tone moving through a range of color from dark sienna into cool grays and silvers is particularly compelling. The combination of surface detail and repetition of form in this cluster offer rich fodder for jewelry inspiration. The result of these elements have a particularly urban and stunning effect. Wouldn't you love to have or create a piece of jewelry that pulled from this inspiration? 

Photo: Nova Colette Bronstein

Ohmega salvage is a short trek from both University Avenue and 3rd Avenue shopping areas and stretches into two lots on either side of San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. A salvage yard of this size and as comprehensive as Ohmega never has a shortage of items to ogle, a rare find in this central and urban location.  

Photo: Nova Colette BronsteinNo matter what your goal, Ohmega (or your local architectural salvage yard) offers a stunning array of visual sustenance. And, if, like me, you're interested in jewelry design, you may find that it's easier than you think to find inspiration for jewelry there. Happy designing!


Interested in making some of your own smashing jewelry? As a jewelry design instructor at the Sheffield School in New York, I encourage you to take the matter of making jewelry into your own hands! Check out the newly launched Jewelry Design Course offered at the Sheffield School.  With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any other school in the world.