Meet The Maker: Devin McNutt of Saffron Creations

Hello my name is Devin and I’m the maker behind Saffron Creations. I work from my home studio in the Germantown section of Philadelphia where I live with my husband and two sons. I design and create jewelry from vintage tins that were manufactured in the 1960s and 70s in England to store items such as tea and cookies.

The very first time that I cut up a tin was about eleven years ago, when I had been making various types of “regular” jewelry for a while. I had a lovely purple Art Deco tin that belonged to my maternal grandmother and got the wacky idea to utilize the gorgeous patterns by turning it into jewelry. A few frightening moments later (wondering if I was just destroying a sentimental treasure!) I realized that it works! It works really well. And that was the beginning of my journey as Saffron Creations.

I start by cutting the tin canisters into flat sheets using metal shears, then with my ever growing collection of steel disc cutters, I hammer out little bits here and there that speak to me. Each piece of tin is then carefully filed, sanded shaped and drilled. I utilize “cold connections” which is a jewelers term for connecting pieces of metal without using a torch, as the heat would destroy the colors and patterns on the tin. I incorporate a lot of forged sterling silver and brass wire into my designs, which compliments the sometimes intricate tin instead of competing with it.

When I cut up a tin I marvel at it’s beauty and get SO excited for a glimpse into it’s next life as jewelry. I use every little piece that I can and the bits that I don’t use get recycled. Instead of this particular 4 inch tall vintage tea tin (above) collecting dust on one person’s kitchen shelf it will be loved, admired and worn out in the world by 30+ people. Customers often ask where I find my tins and it’s a long answer because I have many sources. I search the usual places like rummage sales, flea markets and antique malls, but after running Saffron Creations for so long, family, friends and customers have caught on and bring me loads of tins on a regular basis. It’s like having a fleet of “tin spotters” and I’m so grateful. I also have a handful of patterns that are my best sellers and those tins I source on Ebay or Etsy.

2018 will be my 6th (!) year returning to the Art Star Craft Bazaar and it’s one of my absolute favorite local events. Each year I discover new makers from all over the country and bring home at least one little gift for myself. Visit me in booth number 65. Just look for my bright and colorful tent display!

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