New Ipswich business fuses love of creating art and clay shooting

  • Laura Vaillancourt of New Ipswich uses bullets from her clay shooting hobby to craft unique creations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Laura Vaillancourt of New Ipswich uses bullets from her clay shooting hobby to craft unique creations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Laura Vaillancourt of New Ipswich uses bullets from her clay shooting hobby to craft unique creations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Laura Vaillancourt of New Ipswich uses bullets from her clay shooting hobby to craft unique creations. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/30/2020 1:30:49 PM

Each week, Laura Vaillancourt of New Ipswich heads to the Ashburnham Rod and Gun Club to do a little clay pigeon shooting with her father. But it’s not just the brightly colored discs she’s on the hunt for.

Vaillancourt has been a hobby shooter for a long time, she said, but she’s also a generally creative person. Each week, seeing the bullet shells and casings discarded into a bucket, she knew there must be some way to use the discards.

“I definitely love shooting, and I love creating things. I’m always making and buying handmade things,” Vaillancourt said.

That was the inspiration for The Rustic Bullet, the name of Vaillancourt’s Etsy shop and Facebook page where she sells jewelry, coasters, keychains, ornaments and other crafts that make use of her bullet casings.

Vaillancourt said she grew up around guns, with her father being an avid shooter, though she only truly got into the hobby herself as an adult, as a way to bond with her dad. The pair turn each of their weekly outings into a competition, and then Vaillancourt scoops up the used shells for her venture.

First, she removes the primer from the bullet shells, ensuring they’re inert. For her first venture, she used the bottom of the bullet shell, with a gemstone set in the center, to create a unique pair of earrings for herself.

It went so well, she started to make some for her friends. “Then I started to think, ‘This is something I could really create as gifts, and put on the market.’”

She began experimenting, setting bullets into epoxy to create coasters, which she said are popular among dads and hunters. She expanded her jewelry line, to include charm bracelets and necklaces, cufflinks, and boutonnieres. She’s always looking for new sources of inspiration, she said, and has begun to branch out into other areas of sportsmanship, including making coasters featuring fishing lures and hooks and arrowheads, and miniature paper targets.

When Vaillancourt started The Rustic Bullet, she said it was easy enough to come by her supplies. Her father jokes about shoring up her crafting supplies each time he goes out to shoot, but bullet shells and casings are discarded at the gun range, and Vaillancourt said she often picks up those discards – and when she runs especially low, she can go to a nearby sandpit that’s a favorite of local hobby shooters and dig out a few shells for her crafts.

But lately, some of what was once plentiful has been more difficult to find. Gun and ammo sales skyrocketed this year, and resulted in a national ammunition shortage among certain calibers, making once plentiful discards scarce, Vaillancourt said.

For more information about The Rustic Bullet, visit www.etsy.com/shop/therusticbullet or The Rustic Bullet Facebook page.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.




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