Jen McGlashan is the innovative mastermind behind McFlashpants, ethical jewelry and home decor made from re-purposed, everyday items. The unique name of her business came in the form of a telemarketer's call during the dinner hour and will forever be remembered by the McGlashan family. Convinced that the telemarketer was seeking early retirement, when inadvertently asking to speak to Dr. McFlashpants. Her business name is a reminder to McGlashan not to take herself so seriously. Rest assured, despite the exquisite jewelry pieces she creates, no one can mistake her for a pretentious or self-important artist.
McGlashan uses environmentally friendly approaches and materials in her craft. In her early days of jewelry making at the 92nd Street Y, she found herself unable to afford expensive precious metals and was wary of unethically mined silver & gem stones. Instead, McGlashan turned to discarded sterling silverware from old place settings and decided to source her conflict-free gem stones from a family of prospectors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A facet of her inspiration to use discarded metals came from her former days as a set designer, "In low budget theater you didn't have the luxury of new materials.", comments McGlashan. All the metal used in McGlashan's jewelry is unwanted in some way, from local junk store purchases to the bundles of utensils left on her front lawn by an anonymous neighbor. Projected by the universe, these metals find their way to McGlashan's home where they will undergo a metamorphosis and become treasured jewelry.
Spending a day all alone in her workshop with old cutlery and tools, McGlashan never knows what she will create until she has created it. McGlashan welds the metals using an acetylene torch, saw, hammer, and an anvil. After hours alone in her studio and a lot of banging around, the scrap of metal dictates its transformation to McGlashan. When asking McGlashan how she comes up with such creative shapes, she replies, "If you sit in your studio staring at an object long enough, it will start to take on more interesting shapes than the one it currently has. Forks cease to be forks and spoons become inspirational as long as you keep your butt in the seat and work with them long enough."
The imaginative names she gives to some of her pieces are curious to her customers but perfectly normal to McGlashan. As a young child her family would invent made-up names for anonymous house hold items and things that were “nameless”, so to speak. She was used to using her families pretend names for the "nameless" things around her and it wasn't until her early college days when she became aware that words such as "pouczcgh," (used to describe the myriad of dust clumps under the bed or in the corners of the room) or "wee-waw," (meaning slightly crooked), were not in the vocabulary of others. Keeping in tradition with her families made-up vocabulary, she carries on, using her own unconventional names for the objects she creates such a "spoonarooti" or a spoon ring, and "hair goo ga" otherwise known as a hair piece made from a pie server.
In addition to recycling silverware and using purely ethically mind stones & metals, McGlashan often creates new and innovative ways to maintain her business. Out of the necessity to reduce her electrical usage, she had designed and built her own hydro-tumbler made from soda bottles and yogurt containers then carefully positioned it under a private waterfall on her property. However, a move that has left said waterfall in the past has McGlashen thinking up ways to invent a solar powered tumbler in its wake. McGlashen credits her mother for her talent to design creative solutions and remarks, "I got it from my Mother who could see through the surface layers. She can see through shag carpet."
McGlashen has recently relocated to a sustainable 100 acre dream farm in the Catskills and is anxious to create large sculptural works from the scrap metals she has been collecting over time. While her current torch can only anneal and solder certain precious metals McGlashan tells us, "My hope is to ramp up to an oxy-acetylene torch, which mixes oxygen with acetylene to create a much hotter flame. It can both cut and weld many metals depending on how it's used and probably also melt a lot of my junkier scrap metals and allow me to cast larger and less precious pieces than my current torch can."
There are many ways to explore McGlashan's art and McFlashpants. Visit Etsy to view McFlashpants work as well as some of McGlashan's new pieces. Teich Design, a quaint and eco-friendly boutique in New York's East Village is now selling McGlashan silver tie tacks and key chains. Finally, learn metal work from the woman herself. McGlashan is offering classes in metalsmithing as well as found-object classes.