Archive for February, 2011

In the holiday batch of jewellery making I did start using some things

horn button mans necklace

that had just been accumulating in the stash. Buttons played a big part, both the newly found Victorian glass ones and also some of the mother-of-pearl ones that I’d been hording for years. They are just so pretty that I always knew I’d find uses for them but just didn’t get around to actually trying to design with them in mind until now. It like I had to achieve a critical mass of stuff before it could start gelling together. At any rate, this is one of the most simple designs and also the most masculine but still a favourite of mine. The base is a large, antique horn button with a smaller mother-of-pearl one in front of it. It is wired together to form an attachment loop at the top with a dark, oxidized iron wire. From the bottom of the front hangs a real stone arrowhead, bound in sterling silver. It’s strung on a dark brown leather thong, (with a metal clasp for ease of use) that also has a pair of dangles. One is a round, roughly handmade one which had terrific finish, but I have no idea what it’s original purpose was and the other is a small, tough butterfly. The butterfly isn’t all that manly, but it’s also not cutesy. I suppose it could be removed, if it was going to worn by a guy, but I think it pulls it back enough to make the whole thing more gender neutral. I’ll be interested to see who ends up taking it home.

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Some of the new jewellery pieces are hard to categorize. This is one that is really a fairly

button and stone necklace

standard assemblage piece that has a vintage flair. It was designed around the colours of the central stone drop. I made a wire loop for it, since the rest of the components were wired, in a soft brass to match them. The chain is made up of assorted wire looped beads in different materials. The green ones are glass, as are the larger round brown/grey ones. The smaller bluish grey ones are (horrors!) plastic. (not my typical choice, but they are nicely made, the right size/shape and a perfect colour match to some tones in the stone drop) I also again used two pairs of antique mother-of-pearl buttons. The end result is a necklace with mostly modern components that has a vintage sensibility to it, and a colour palette that will work with a wide range of things. (it looks terrific with denim!) The choice of materials and simplicity also mean that it has a very reasonable price tag as well.

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Here’s another of the holiday jewellery pieces. Typically, when I’ve been designing

necklace with mother-of-pearl and watch face

in a Steampunk frame of mind, I’m working with antique clock/watch/key bits, but this was something different. This one was done using a fine steel face that I’m pretty sure is from the early 70’s, so while almost 40 years old, is still much more recent than is typical for my work. It hangs in front of a large, modern, mother-of-pearl disk and has a similar period key hanging below. (it’s attached by using a decorative link taken from a vintage chandelier drop) The chain is made up with graduated trios of antique mother-of-pearl buttons alternating with faceted amber-yellow beads. The beads also match two drops that accent the centre. The chain is all a dark oxidized brass colour that is close to the patina on the key. The finished piece is soft and dreamy but still has a lot of impact. I’m just not sure if I should still call it Steampunk though, since the styles of the watch face and key are just a bit out of sync for how I usually think of it.

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brief break in the snow

It’s been a snowy winter and I’m getting tired of looking at that white.

east lawn, Feb. 2011

We got spoiled last year by the lightness of the overall snowfall and frequent thaws. Things were messy and muddy Thursday and Friday while it was warm, and yesterday was full of violent winds, but today is lovely. It’s cold, so the ground is solid, but clear with little wind and the sun is shining. There was enough of a melt to expose a bit of the east pathway that has been covered since December. I took this opportunity to spend a bit of time outside with the camera since we’re supposed to get another big snow dump tonight and I needed to look at something, anything, green. The only comfort is that at least the worst of the winter should be past now, since I am more than ready to be done with all the shovelling and have spring get started. We’ve got lots of gardening plans to get to work on!

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There was a bunch of new jewellery made over the holidays and one of them was this pin.

oval steampunk brooch

The base is a vintage one that had been a long term resident of the stash. It’s a fairly traditional design and slightly ornate but I think it’s likely from the 70’s or 80’s and has a gold-tone finish that is showing a little wear. There were a couple of rhinestones still attached, when I found it. They were removed and it now has a faux opal and coin, a glass taxidermy eye and some watch parts. The hard part was finding bits that just fit the settings and still had a cohesive look. (and I really have to find another source for good faux opals since I’ve used almost all the ones I had) It’s very Steampunk, and more than a little odd, but that fits in well here!

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Valentine’s Day isn’t one of those holidays I take very seriously since it often

hand-made card, Love is the Only Gold

seems more-than-a-little manufactured. However, when I was in university, my circle of friends had some fun ones by celebrating friendship and making or giving each other little tokens, much like the elementary school days. (with extremely low price limits, I think $1 was the absolute most you could spend, because we were all impoverished students) Those were good times and my first group of collage works were actually a series of cards, done a couple of years after graduation that went out as v-day gifts. Since then, I try to either make something or bake some goodies so I can participate in my own way. This year, while I did get one card made, it wasn’t done for a specific person so it’ll probably end up in the store. I had made a piece a few years before that was done in a similar way. The heart design is a raised pattern and that was then gilded. The background is layered, using some vintage poetry pages and then painted for softening and texture. I’ve antiqued the heart, to bring out the details as well as the rest of the surface to age it. The quote is from Tennyson and was done on my favourite faux vellum that is semi transparent. It’s also hand-torn and antiqued along the edges. It could go out for sale as is, but I think I may put it in a frame, we’ll see. We hope you all have a good time today!

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I managed to lose track of the dates and missed that V-day is almost upon us!

custom shirt detail, red ribbon heart

Typically, it’s quiet here since we’re off season, so I don’t tend to do much in the way of holiday decorating or crafting. (I did get a card/collage done however and I’ll be showing it off tomorrow) There are some hearts that I will wear all year round however. This is another case of a fairly simple modification personalizing a plain piece of clothing. This was a good quality, fitted ladies white tee. I really liked the cut of it as well as the neckline, but plain white is more than at little boring, as far as I’m concerned. Painting on it was a possibility, but it can be a little high risk, since accidents can happen and there is no starting over when working with paint on fabric. That’s why, while I like playing with paint, I tend to stick to doing it on less expensive pieces to begin with. I also didn’t want anything that was too cute since I wanted something that would end up as suitable for work wear in the warmer months. The design is simple, a red ribbon heart that is overlaid with rough black stitching. Selecting the right ribbon was important since it needed to be able to survive washing without bleeding or damage. I went with a fine acrylic satin that is just over a 1/4” wide. The folds and rutching that make up the heart shape were all laid out in advance and pined into place, (there were very many pins!) before sewing. Again, a good quality satin finish black thread was used since it makes up part of the finished design. I then carefully sewed the ribbon to the shirt in harsh black passes, pulling the pins as each bit went down. The result is a slightly abstracted but strongly graphic design that gives the whole piece some personalized drama. (the nicest compliment I ever got on it was when I wore it to a seminar on artistic property laws and the lecturer was talking about logos and trademarks. He assumed my heart was one and asked which company it belonged to!)

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