Shop Local: Mixed Metal Masterpieces | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Shop Local: Mixed Metal Masterpieces 

Local jeweler Marianne Prodehl started Junk to Jems with a focus on recycled metals and soldering

Part of this week's Shop Local feature, a story on how local products get made.

Marianne Prodehl has been piecing together and soldering jewelry for the last 10 years at The Workhouse in Bend. Each piece is uniquely made and has its own personality. Prodehl's jewelry is composed of mainly recycled mixed metals, anything from old gutters to toolboxes to scrap pieces, and that's what inspired the name of her business, "Junk to Jems."

Marianne Prodehl creates original jewelry pieces and custom works in her studio, from rings to necklaces to earrings. Find her work online or at The Workhouse. - ALLIE NOLAND
  • Allie Noland
  • Marianne Prodehl creates original jewelry pieces and custom works in her studio, from rings to necklaces to earrings. Find her work online or at The Workhouse.

Statement rings and bigger earrings fill her display table, and each piece is a little different. The process starts with a creative burst and ends with some polishing and perfecting. Prodehl's work comes from experimentation and inspiration with the stones she selectively sources.

Once an idea starts to form, she goes with it. Prodehl takes a piece of bezel wire, wraps it around the stone to fit and places that on a metal plate, the backing of the piece. Then, she solders the bezel piece and plate together using two torches, tiny pieces of solder and a substance called flux, which is used to prepare the surface.

As soon as the torch is off and the pieces have fused, the piece gets placed into a pickle bath, a solution that treats the metal for impurities. The pickle bath also gets rid of the firescale, the dark colored layer that is created when metal heats up.

From there, the opportunities are endless. . . earrings, a necklace, a ring. For rings, Prodehl cuts a strip of metal, sands the edges, hammers it around a sizing tool until it reaches the desired shape, hammers delicate textures into it and then connects the bezel piece with careful soldering. The stone is then placed and fitted in the metal creation. Details are added depending on Prodehl's vision—anything from little metal dots to a floral texture to extra texture on the rim of the bezel.

Marianne Prodehl proudly displaying her work. - ALLIE NOLAND
  • Allie Noland
  • Marianne Prodehl proudly displaying her work.

"I am not a perfect jeweler," Prodehl said. "I am an artistic jeweler. I call it rustic elegance. It's my style."

Five to six days a week, shoppers and art viewers can find Prodehl working away in her studio space at The Workhouse, the retail shop and active studio space for a handful of artists that also serves as a space for classes. Prodehl said she thrives in the environment because of her ability to engage with customers and feeling inspired by the surrounding artists. It allows human connection and the ability to fulfill custom orders.

On Saturday, The Workhouse is hosting a Shop Small 25% Off Sale. Junk to Jems is one of the first studio stations as visitors walk in. Shoppers can find unique pieces for their loved ones on the display stand.

Junk to Jems
Mon-Sun, 9-5pm
The Workhouse
50 SE Scott St. #6, Bend

About The Author

Allie Noland

Allie graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in journalism and public relations. She loves writing articles that have anything to do with arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing, you can find her skiing, playing volleyball, backpacking, gardening and checking out local restaurants.
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