Published: Sunday, May 20, 2007
Former Delphi worker has knack for 'bad art'
Nancy Barnes keeps as busy as she wants to, with her Delphi Packard job ended.
By TIM YOVICH
WARREN Jewelry maker and designer Nancy Barnes has a quirky trait: She likes bad art.
It's little wonder that the 46-year-old former tool and die maker has been judged a semifinalist in the fifth annual Ugly Necklace Contest.
If her piece, "A Beachin' Bead Tale," captures first place, she will receive a $992.93 shopping spree at contest sponsor Land of Odds, a Nashville peddler of bobbles, bangles and beads to those who make jewelry.
Barnes, a Salem native, has been doing beading and making jewelry for as long as she can remember.
She worked for nearly nine years at Delphi Packard Electric's North River Road plant but lost her $72,000-a-year job last December.
"Making jewelry, that's what got me through the stress," Barnes said of the craft she does at home.
She noted that some Delphi Packard workers got highly stressed, waiting to find out when they would be let go through a buyout or early retirement.
She learned the day before her last one at Packard told by an e-mail to put the keys in her desk before she left work Dec. 22.
Sometimes, she said, she and her co-workers had two or three hours of downtime during a shift. Some of them worked puzzles while she would get out the beads from her lunch bag to make something to fill the time.
She sold a lot of her work to co-workers.
Now, Barnes does the crafting full time, selling as Hairpin Curve at her eBay store and Hoppyscotch on Etsy, another Web sales site for handmade things. She also sells beading supplies herself.
When her savings account gets down to a certain amount she has calculated, she'll have to return to the work force.
Back problems may hamper her job search, but she has an associate degree in electrical engineering that an employer might use. She also did design and drafting before tool and die work.
"It's not about money. It's really doing things that you want to do," Barnes said of her beading and other art projects.
"I always like to do things with my hands," Barnes said, adding that it isn't unusual to dream of a piece, wake up and draw it.
"I'm as busy as I want to be," she said from behind her desk at her Tod Avenue home.
When Barnes viewed the promotional material for the ugly contest, it got her attention.
"Wow, this sounds like fun," she recalled.
"I tried to break every rule I could think of," Barnes said noting that putting together colors that don't match and pieces that aren't balanced isn't easy.
"I like bad art. It makes me laugh," she said. "It's humorous."
Readers can vote for the Barnes entry at Web site www.landofodds.com/store/uglynecklace.htm Click on "Go Vote," and her creation is No. 2 on the page.
A visitor to her home, meanwhile, will sit on Martha Stewart outdoor furniture in her living room, which also serves as an office. In the work area is a 4-foot-high statue of a woman titled "Our Lady of the Garden," which will go into her backyard when completed. It's made of a tomato basket, wire, plastic foam and concrete covered with cut glass and beads.