Crafting a piece of home

Published 9:48 am Monday, April 23, 2018

As the weeks tick on, the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival draws ever closer. More and more vendors are announced each day, and the newest KMLF Spotlight focuses on Broken Bottle Boutique, owned and operated by Shyla Myst Blevins.

Blevins makes a variety of jewelry pieces, such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings from glass and pottery. How she does this, is what makes Broken Bottle Boutique unique.

Blevins got the idea for her craft while fishing one summer day, an activity she enjoys.

“One evening, I was wading the river and noticed all the glass and pottery laying on the sandbars. It was pieces that were way too pretty and unique to be laying just in the river. So, that’s when I got the idea to up-cycle them by taking them home, washing them, and then turning them into jewelry,” she said. She also specializes each piece she makes with some kind of charm to accentuate the piece. She even uses wire wrapping as a decorative technique.

Blevins continues to collect materials for her work from the rivers of Harlan County.

For the time being, Broken Glass Boutique is a one person operation with the exception of the help she gets from her boyfriend when they go “glass hunting” together.

“It’s probably our favorite thing to do together and we love competing against each other on who can find the best piece of the day,” she said.

Blevins also spoke to what draws people to local crafts and goods and in particular, why she thinks people appreciate her work.

“Local, handmade crafts, to me, is most appealing to other people because the craft shares a sentimental side of local history. For instance, the glass that I refurbish into wearable jewelry could’ve been a piece of an old dairy glass from the 1950s. Who knows where each piece was made or where it came from. I’ve been lucky enough to actually find bottoms of bottles that say “Harlan KY” on them. Almost everyone collected glass from the creek as kids, so what I do is a good refreshing memory for those who did. Also, each piece of jewelry is a piece of Harlan County that you can take with you wherever you go, especially if you grew up in these mountains and no longer can live here,” she said.

This year is not the first time Blevins will be attending the KMLF. She went last year, as a musical act with the band called The Kudzu Killers and she is looking forward to that experience again this year.

“It’s the greatest feeling to see people enjoy my product. I love that I can share this fun hobby with so many people and it warms my heart that others find it as interesting as me,” she said.