Rackk & Ruin: Vintage Metal

Beautiful jewelry made by a good friend…

Molly Conant at work; the driving force behind Rackk & Ruin in Burlington, Vermont. Photo: Damir Alisa for Thread Magazine.

Molly Conant at work; the driving force behind Rackk & Ruin in Burlington, Vermont.
Photo: Damir Alisa for Thread Magazine.

Molly Conant may be the daughter of Steve Conant, founder and owner of Conant Metal & Light on Pine Street.  And she may be the successful one-woman force behind Rackk & Ruin, a jewelry collection made from vintage metals and other materials.  But she did not break into the metalworking world in the linear, familial fashion that one might expect.

Conant’s journey to jewelry was circular and gradual, much like the rediscovered and resurrected nature of the pieces she creates. While it’s true that her father taught her a few basics as a child, she never experimented with metalworking until after college. She double majored in studio art and sociology, and graduated from University of Vermont in 2006 without ever taking a metalworking or jewelry class. She instead focused on photography and drawing.

Several years later, Conant was bouncing around different jobs, including waitressing and working at a photography program for children. Searching for artistic motivation, she began browsing the street style blog scene, and — inspired by a feathered necklace that she came across — began toying with basic metalworking.

“I started with that and I wore a version of it to work, and enough of my coworkers and customers were excited about it that I was like ‘oh, you would want me to make you one of these for money?’” she says. “When I discovered how much I loved working with my hands and making jewelry, it just clicked. It’s a pretty easy world to break into and learn as you go.”

Beginning in 2009, she slowly amassed a collection of pieces, selling them individually or in small batches. Her initial process did not use heat or complex fabrication methods.

“Very much in the beginning it was more feathers and leather and zipper teeth. No fire was involved,” she explains. “It was riveting; just assembly, cold connections and all that.”

Soon enough, she was asked to make wedding bands, a request that inspired her to learn more about soldering and using heat to manipulate metal.

 

Molly Conant at work; the driving force behind Rackk & Ruin in Burlington, Vermont. Photo: Damir Alisa for Thread Magazine.

Molly Conant at work; the driving force behind Rackk & Ruin in Burlington, Vermont.
Photo: Damir Alisa for Thread Magazine.

“When I first got back into soldering I took a few classes from Jane Frank [of Alchemy Studio, Howard Street, Burlington] just to kind of remind myself,” she recalls. “As I realized I wanted to learn more and become more skilled, I realized I would need a new space and that’s when I moved into Conant, to have access to their soldering station and then ultimately build my own.”

 

BY LIZ CANTRELL

 

Read more at Thread Magazine…

 

Visit www.rackkandruin.com. Pieces from Conant’s jewelry line are also available at Common Deer in Shelburne and at Free People’s online store. In addition to her own jewelry, Conant sells an assortment of vintage clothes, bags, shoes, and decorative items at her studio, 270 Pine St, 2nd Floor, Burlington.

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