Local artist turns trinkets into treasure

Photo submitted by Freda Durio

MIFFLINTOWN — One person’s trinket is Freda Durio’s treasure.

One year ago, Durio, of Mifflintown, started putting costume jewelry into frames and forming what many have said is unforgettable art.

“I saw a picture somewhere of a jewelry tree,” Durio said, and she decided to make some pieces for her sisters for Christmas.

Durio is a retired activity director for various senior care facilities and said she has always been “artsy,” but never officially studied art.

One day she took a break from painting and started arranging brooches, pins and tiny beads and ornaments from necklaces and bracelets onto a canvas. With each piece perfectly positioned, she began to make images out of the baubles and brass, cameos and chains.

Photo submitted by Freda Durio

Durio said her sisters adored the artwork and began purchasing pieces of jewelry from flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores.

“The basis is really costume jewelry,” she said of the less expensive pieces, “But it has become an expensive hobby,” as the materials add up in cost.

Durio then began selling her artwork to compensate. She held a booth at a Christmas Bazaar at Locust Grove Retirement Village last month.

“It’s hard to sell them because I love them all,” Durio said.

However, there is a network of “fans,” she calls them, who sweep up her frames in a hurry.

Photo submitted by Freda Durio

Making the images is not as easy as one may assume, although Durio cannot explain her talent.

Durio said she does not sketch her ideas, but simply configures the pieces on a canvas she has painted. She hot glues each piece to form angels, hummingbirds, butterflies, dolphins, light houses, snowmen and words.

Durio struggles with some health issues, but she said the hobby has helped her cope.

“Sitting at this table is therapeutic,” she said. Her kitchen table is covered with boxes of jewel pieces, frames, canvases, paints and bubble wrap.

“When I can’t sleep, I come out here and create something,” she said.

Within the last year she has made 200 framed pieces.

Durio uses “gorilla” glue, but she said she never guarantees every piece will stay intact. On rare occasion, one or two may lose their grip. To ensure everything stays together, Durio wraps the frames tightly with bubble wrap.

“I live with bubble wrap,” she said, pointing to rolls and rolls of the plastic.

The 5×7-inch framed art ranges in price from $15 to $20. Larger pieces cost up to $40.

Durio may be contacted at (270) 893-2434.