Saturday, February 16, 2013

New Things

A necklace cobbled from vintage printed tin, gem tintype and chain fragments, with antique text collaged to the back.  The poem is "The Blue and The Gray," by Francis Milnes Finch, and this fragment is from an encyclopedia dated about the time of its first publication, post Civil War.

 I like the look of old text so much, I would probably wear this necklace with that side facing out, but the tintype portrait, of the size called "gem," originally made just for lockets, or other ways of carrying the image of a loved one about easily, is interesting, too.  It's a young woman, possibly a girl, in what appears to be a gingham dress, with long hair behind her ears in perhaps a net snood.  The image is so tiny you'll have to see what you think may be there.  But she looks rather stern and innocent.

The chain is the last of a nice length of old stock beaded brass, spliced to some interesting links and a hook salvaged from bits I have collected.  I do love a spliced chain -- it's ostensibly simple, but a closer look shows more depth and texture.

Here's the front, in sharp contrast because the photo was made in a south window on a rare sunny day.  You can see some of the paper peeking around the edges, which is another thing I like.  It softens the tin, looks old and frayed, and is actually quite sturdy after being soaked in resin, cured, varnished, and then waxed.

When I think about the Civil War I remember that, growing up in Atlanta in the 50s, the issues and scars of Reconstruction were still fresh almost 100 years later.  I think of generations of parents who taught their children in such a way that things were not laid to rest or allowed to heal.  And it leaves me wondering if, with all the partisanship we experience today, we aren't repeating that sad old mistake.

Here's a pair of earrings capped with smashed verdigris-ed thimbles, very old, turned up in a dig in Latvia and purchased from Alchemy Shop on Etsy.  (Link to the right.)  Beneath the thimbles are African clay spindle whorls, then bright glass trade beads and sparkling peacock pyrite nuggets, ending in Dalmatian jasper drops.

From thoughts of seamstresses of long ago, I jumped to the word, "virago," one which I have always loved, along with "termagant."  These are words that are supposed to insult women, but we shouldn't be so easily controlled, with words intended to make strength and self expression into negative qualities.

Words can never hurt me!

And another pair of earrings evoking my dream of a nice place to live in the sunny Southwest, a dream that recurs every damp, dark February here in the Northwest.  So I named them "Mi Ranchito de Comodidad," or "my little ranch of comfort."

I love rusty, used horseshoes, and I especially love  them as pendants.  And I love milagros, or ex votos, those little offerings and reminders to saints of one's needs for intercession.  The horse and steer are milagros.  To me they represent a ranch, so they are my ex voto reminder that I would like to have a ranchito fragrant with sage and mesquite, with room for me, my studio, Abbie, Sparrow, and some guests.  I also love contemporary ethnic beads, when they are still made of clay and glass, as these are.

Both pair have 20 ga. niobium wires, which I have made myself.  Niobium doesn't oxidize in normal conditions, and so it doesn't irritate our tender skin.

All of these can be found in my shop at Etsy, link to the right.

1 comment:

  1. delightful! i also enjoy the thimbles found in Latvia. they musta hit a gold mine of them as they never seem to be out. i especially love the wrecked ones with bits lovely work as always! xoxo