Sunday, May 5, 2013

Rice Cracker Pin

Senbei pin

Make a pin in less than five minutes. All you need is an artfully crafted food item with a history that dates back over a thousand years. This pin is made from a senbei, a traditional Japanese rice cracker, first introduced to the scene in 737 AD. This one incorporates peanuts that look like scattered leaves. When you hold the senbei up to the light at the right angle, you can see that it has a bas relief embossed pattern on front and back.

How long do senbei last and will this pin hold up over time? I made this pin at least fifteen years ago and it has been knocking around in an over-stuffed drawer where I recently rediscovered it. Who knows? With care it might last another thousand years. To make the pin, all that is required is a beautiful senbei, a few minutes with a pin backing and a little silicone glue and the result is a new piece of jewelry.

Pin backing glued on

The final picture shows you the scale. It makes a striking (and feather-light) brooch centered on a black silk knit T-shirt. I believe I found my senbei at a museum restaurant. I ate one and wasn't impressed with the flavor, but was alert enough to snag a second one for a jewelry project. You may find your own senbei during a visit to San Francisco's Japantown, online, or hop on a plane and go to the source.

Scale: a large but feather-light brooch

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