Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blessed Ophelia, an Original

Here she is, on her way to Etsy, The Blessed Ophelia, a martyr to your peccadilloes, untoward thoughts, secret fantasies, etc., etc., with a pocket where you can store them and forget them, and so will she, since she has a sort of terminal ennui.  Too bored by it all to share it with anybody.  Go ahead, you can trust her to keep your little mistakes safe, more or less.

You can see above that she is really unimpressed by your personal failings, which is quite reassuring, I think.

She stands about 16 inches tall and is dressed in elegant tatters of silk ribbon, true velvet (crushed and old), and a tatty curtain.  Her headband is a fine piece of handmade lace, naturally stained by time, and her hair is a bundle of fibers left from a ball gown that fell to rags and threads years ago.

Her arms are hinged to move up and down on mother of pearl buttons.

She's just as shabby as your horrid little secrets, you see.  Just leave them with her and get them off your mind!  No worries, dear.  It's all in the past, you know.

Ophelia knows but will not tell.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Take on Mourning Jewelry

In Victorian days, when the common folk honored the Queen's lasting grief for the loss of her beloved consort, they adopted the strict royal rules of decorum for the ornament of those in mourning.  Jet, bog wood, subdued colors, deep sentiment all kept the lost dear one hovering near the heart in lockets, brooches and necklaces.  Here are some contemporary takes on that old custom, incorporating old objects that still hold sentimental, evocative power.

First, this necklace of festooned oxidized chain with a very old Czechoslovakian filigreed button, surrounded with gray freshwater pearls, above a "cameo" made of an antique schoolbook illustration set in resin.

And then, the next one, a bit more off-tradition, but still in the same vein, rustic white glass beads from India, my own hand made rose beads, tiny faceted oxblood-colored seed beads, and a rusted tin frame around the antique portrait of a school boy, with antique star-spangled button held pendant.  Modern in form, but still sentimental, which, perhaps, is no longer a modern thing.  Nevertheless, the heart has its needs.

Jewelry's first task was most likely as a social status indicator, to inform one's people of vocation, dedication, rank, events of one's life, such as arrival of puberty, birth, loss or victory.  It isn't a very long reach of time from the first strung shells to Victorian mourning jewelry, just the blink of an eye, really.

Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and will find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Woodland Floor in May

In order of appearance -- Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Ginger, Trillium, sometimes called Wake Robin for its sprightly eager early first bloom in cool springtime, and Fairy Bells  Jack's originally a native of Wisconsin, but here he is preaching in my back yard.  As we used to say in Georgia when someone held forth with whom we agreed, making argument unnecessary, "you're preaching to the choir."  The Ginger, Trillium and Fairy Bells I found during a hike on Tiger Mountain, and they are all native to the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Days

My brave, beautiful and resourceful Mother has passed away after a brief illness.  Here she is when she was young, her passport photo collaged over the envelope in which our passport was kept when we followed Dad to Japan during the Occupation.  Wasn't she beautiful?  She stayed that way, too.  I can close my eyes and remember the color of that pansy-shaped brooch and the cloth of her "utility suit."  We have had a long journey together, and now it will be so hard to keep traveling on without her, but I expect her feet were sore from so many, many steps.  The women of Mom's generation were Can Do women and she Could.  We are so grateful for all she has given us, with our bodies forged from hers, her children and grandchildren left behind.  Now she stays with us in our hearts, which we hope will be much easier on her little feet.

Mary Etta Montana Malone Moore
July 13, 1916 - May 3, 2010
I Love You

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The White Box, a work in progress ... or The Mother Lode

Contents of the Box:  Early 19th c. legal file copy in handwritten script on tissue, book boards, cobbler's nails, carte de visite, glass beads, marbled papers, antique text, horse hair, porcupine quill, bone buttons, antique child's shoe, drusy quartz crystal fragment, beach-found mystery metal, old brocaded ribbon, and marvelous white hand-made box found at Bernie's Antiques with a glass front and real patination.  Thanks to Bernie for the collaboration.  I am not sure I want to tell you where Bernie's Antiques lives, because it would be alot like telling where my berry patch is -- Bernie is the last of the true bricoleurs and he has marvelous things, large and small, quite old and tatty, all jumbled together, not staged, and it just brings out the huntress in me.  He says he doesn't find these things in estate sales, he just cleans out old houses.  I thought for sure I'd found the Mother Lode when I found Bernie's place.   In fact, think that's just what I'll call this piece.