Monday, September 30, 2013

Oh That Old Thing -- Relistings

I just listed these pieces, here.  The first is a steel necklace with an ammonite fossil, imprinted key, antique glass vial, and beads of "pineapple glass."  They are almost opalescent, with faintest yellow tint.  And then the ring, a wrapped and woven steel tower capturing a natural quartz crystal, and last, a contemporary copy of the ancient Ethiopian shaman's shield, hanging from a collarette of fat ovoid black wooden beads and carved bone.  And then this,

another vintage compass necklace on a handmade brass chain of rhyolite and yellow turquoise beads.  I used brass (nonmagnetic) because the compass still works (it's a souvenir of the Adirondacks, with a leaping bass), pointing to magnetic north.  The beads were chosen for their murky green freshwater-lake-ish colors. The small beads meant over 80 links with hours of work. I had to anneal the brass wire to make it workable, and then more hours spent in hand polishing and waxing the links and the compass itself.  Many layers of Renwax will protect the old paper label with the bass and stamped logo.  I am going to keep this one for a while at least; I have a great love for compasses -- it's always good to keep your bearings and to know just where you're going. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Calavera Shiny Stuff

But I think I need a better camera. This pic. had the stuffing tweaked out of it with Photoscape, so it does have an odd feeling to it, kinda grainy. But here it is anyway, an asymmetrical pair of earrings for Dias, of antique rosary parts, salvaged rhinestones, and vintage findings, post style, for a change. The little steel crucifix came from an antique French rosary, with rusted parts, and it is quite thin, which makes it even more charming.  Just listed in my Etsy shop, here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bling for Dia de los Muertos en El Norte

In Mexico, November 1 and 2 are the days for remembering beloved ones who have died, the first day for Angelitos, lost infants, and the second day for adults, Muertos. I love the idea that we don't really have to say a final goodbye; that our love for others will live as long as we do, and that we, in turn, will be remembered by those who love us.

The fine craftsmanship and art devoted to these festive days takes as its theme Catrina, or the calaca, and you will see wonderfully detailed dioramas with the calacas doing much as they did in life, just as they were portrayed in the work of Posada, the calavera. They provoke an ironic giggle, but what choice do you have, except to keep loving, stay on top of the dirt as long as possible, and bow humbly before mortality. South of the border, they have made something very beautiful of that. 

En el Norte, we are just beginning to catch on. Here's my effort, inspired by the holiday and the beautiful way the folk art of Mexico combines such things as rust and rhinestones.

I got a batch of wonderful little handmade terra cotta calacas here, from Susie Carranza, on Etsy. She remarked how interesting it was when I used the first ones, just plain, raw, because, you see, they are meant to be decorated.  And so this one has been painted, using dry-brushed titanium white and several washes of mixed colors, including some interference blue, and iridescent powders.

Then the assembly gathered speed: using a maple sugar tin collaged with an illustration from a Serbian language novena, La Calaca got settled into a resin puddle with some old rhinestones. But first, I had to figure out a way to suspend the pendant from the necklace. For that, a milagro corazon was drilled for suspension and riveting.  It was surprising how tough that milagro metal was.  It did not drill easily -- what sort of metal do they use?  It acts like some sort of brass.

From that point, the lovely little enameled cross with a rose finally got pulled out of the stash, at last coming back to life. The contrast between the fine enamel and maple sugar tin is piquant, I think. And also resurrected, sparkling like new after an ultrasonic bath in detergent and water, the pink and white aurora borealis rhinestone bracelet, chipped in places from mucho partying. It had been fastened with a foldover clasp, which I removed, and a safety chain, which I also removed, but which left nice little connections for some chain and rosary fragments. Then I stitched on luscious paloma-gray velvet ribbon to tie in a bow at the back of the neck. Now the assembly is ready to make someone very sparkly and beautiful.  Just listed here, at my Etsy shop.  Arriba!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Another Giveaway in the Works, Stay Tuned!

It may appear at any time.

And the winners of Givin' It Away I were:  Kelly, Janet and Kimberly.  Enjoy, my dears!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Givin' It Away

I just recalled an unsuccessful consignment, and seeing the things that have been away for a year, realize I have moved on somewhat.  They're all vintage found object assemblage, handmade, and I'm movin' on, and need space, so, first to ask for each or all, gets them.  Comment and claim!

Number One:  A little choker on dark leather made from cancelled stamps, reclaimed dirty pearls and binding wire, with rather intricate work, even if I say so, myself.  Quite Edwardian or Victorian, and a little spooky, but very girly, too.  The wire work is a technique called lashing, and I did it before I needed reading glasses.  Won't be doing that again on that scale, oh no!

Number Two.  A tintype infant with double chins peeks through a keyhole; an old pressed brass escutcheon with a few crumbs of paint clinging, a Chinese crumb glass bead, pottery button, vintage glass drop, and old key.  The strap is leather, embossed with fleur de lis.  All components salvaged and recycled.

Number Three.  Earrings cobbled from civil war-era text, old stained cotton tassels, cookie box tin, and antique buttons, with handmade niobium wires.  Grungy, but girly, and good with anything from denim to a lacy white something.  They're about 3 inches long, and very light.

Just leave a comment and they're yours if you're ahead of the others.  This is like giving a party and hoping someone will show up.  What if nobody wants them?  Somebody give them a home, please!

Obsolete Money

I just got a nice stash of coins in the mail from a friend, all traveler's pocket change left marooned by the Euro:

One schilling, Republic of Osterrieich (Austria), 1973.
Ten pfennig, 2 each, 1950 and 1971, Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland).
5 Deutschmark, 1975
One Deutschmark, 3 each, 1973, 1985, 1989
One Franc, France, 2 each, 1964 and 1977
Two Franc, France, 2 each, 1979 and 1980
2P, Eire, 1971
20P, Eire, 1986
5p, Eire, 3 each, 1992
10P, Eire, 1993
100 Lire, Italy, 2 each 1978
100 Lire, Italy, 1, 1994 (much in size than the one above)
200 Lire, Italy, Exposizione Mondiale di Filatelia Tematica, no date

These'll get added to my stash of coins to use in things.  I consider them too heavy for earrings, but bracelets and necklaces with a tribal theme, or an ornamental purse, yes.   The coins seems to have a national personality:  the German coinage features oak leaves and eagles, the Austrian, edelweiss, the Italian, human profiles as the tradition of Roman coinage lives on; and of them all, the most beautiful are the Irish coins with lovely animals, a horse, a salmon, a bull.  And their names are interesting, too:  mark, franc, lire, krone, pence, pound, and pfennig.  It must have been difficult, and disturbing, for people to give up their native coinage, so close to national identity, for the Euro, and to relearn the association to marketplace values.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This day marks so much loss; it is not only the anniversary of the fall of the Towers, but also of Katrina's aftermath, and for me, personally, it is the day my dear brother, Perry, died, in 2005.  He had nobly lived and worked for his wife and children, even with advanced multiple sclerosis, up until the last week of his life, when he died of lung cancer.  He served aboard an air craft carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin, where he must have contacted one or all of the toxins and carcinogens known to be aboard that ship. And so he was a late war casualty of Viet Nam, of our nation's way of waging war.  His death left me bereft in a way I cannot describe; he was the last sharer of our childhood, of lightening bug hunts, of scanning the skies for flying saucers, of matinees in a sticky floored movie house he called "The Greasy G," scared spitless by The Monster from the Black Lagoon and satiated with Necco Wafers. I wish I could go back and get a redo of life with him. I would be kinder and I would know that every day spent together is rare and precious beyond value -- even when he was doing his best to drive me completely nuts. Being a sister is a job I wish I had done much better!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cat and Mouse

A bit of fun here -- a pair of late midcentury earrings, one cat, one mouse, flutter beneath a shard of beach pottery, and between them, remains of rosary chain and a tropical nut in a wrinkled husk. It wears so well, quite gracefully, that you don't notice the animals until you look more closely, and then you have to smile.  The whole assembly works for formal reasons, more than for strictly followed associations -- I didn't add a swiss cheese charm, for instance.  So it's a bit unpredictable, which is another reason it's fun.  Just listed here, in my Etsy shop.