Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Featured Artist. Nathalie Lozier of Eco Retro Bling on Etsy

It is about this point in time in the Seattle winter that I find myself craving color.

So I was delighted to discover Nathalie Lozier’s Etsy shop, Eco Retro Bling.

Nathalie is located in my home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which I know from experience is just as grey as Seattle during this time of year, probably even more so.

But a visit to Nathalie’s shop will quickly dispel any winter blahs you may feel.

Nathalie’s designs are filled with juicy, rich, vintage color.

Nathalie says “Since a very young age my primary interests have been the natural sciences and art. They are intimately connected in everything I do.”

You can see the connection in Nathalie’s jewelry designs, for example, this piece using natural branch coral.

Many of Nathalie’s designs feature natural motifs, such as this floral pendant…

And this floral bracelet featuring a bird charm. 

 I certainly felt my touch of winter dullness lifting after my visit to Eco RetroBling. I hope you too will find your day a bit brighter after a visit to Nathalie’s shop. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vintage Miriam Haskell Vintage Pearl Bracelet: A Wish Comes True

I do not have a large collection of vintage costume jewelry, although I do love it and I also love purchasing pieces for our daughter Emma. Rather I am a collector of the supplies that create costume jewelry and books about costume jewelry, which I use to date our vintage supplies and better understand the original use to which they were put. But I have always wanted to own a vintage Miriam Haskell piece, and that wish has come true!

I was able to purchase this Miriam Haskell bracelet at an estate sale recently.  Some of the pearls are worn, the brass is quite aged, and some of the wire work for which the Haskell company is famous has seen better days. But it's still got plenty of flair for me and I couldn’t be happier!

A lot is said about “Miriam Haskell pearls”.  The phrase “Miriam Haskell pearls” has now come to be used as a general term to describe vintage glass pearls that have an irregular, dimpled and indented surface and often a baroque or irregular shape.  There were many more pearls made in Japan in this style than were ever used by the Haskell company however, and it is probably more accurate to refer to most of the pearls you will see as “Haskell-style pearls”.

Here is what Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamfiloff say about the glass pearls used by the Miriam Haskell company, in their book Miriam Haskell Jewelry (an essential resource if you are interested in Haskell):
From the 1920s until the late 1950s, glass beads were purchased and sent to Clio Novelty Company in Brooklyn or to Pongratchi on Long Island where they were “pearlized”; dipped and coated in an emulsion of fish scales…Both smooth and baroque pearls were made in a variety of shapes…The pearls people most consistently associate with Haskell’s Signature look came from the Niki Company of Tokyo, Japan. ..Hess visited the firm and was so impressed with the quality of the glass bead pearls he licensed Niki to be the exclusive supplier of baroque and smooth pearls to Haskell. For Haskell collectors, this is a benchmark date; any piece of jewelry using Niki pearls cannot be older than 1958.” (page 32-33)  Haskell's exclusive relationship withthe Niki Company lasted for about 20 years, until the Niki Company went out of business.

Are the pearls in this bracelet Niki pearls and can we use them to date this bracelet?  I don’t know. Gordon and Pamfiloff share that filigrees such as the one in this bracelet began to be used after WWII, so date to 1945 and later. The Haskell company added permanent signatures to their pieces after WWII, and the oval plaque you see in this bracelet was first introduced in 1951-1952. So it is possible these are Niki pearls, although it could also be that these glass pearls were some that were made prior to 1958. 
Whatever the answer, I am thrilled to have been able to purchase this wonderful piece and to be able to share it here. Here's to vintage!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Venetian Flowers on Wire: History and Provenance of Flowers at Bumbershoot Supplies

We are very excited to have recently purchased many vintage glass flowers and leaves on wire for your designs and inspiration!  We will be loading these up at Bumbershoot Supplies over the coming weeks.

The first flowers now available at Bumbershoot Supplies, shown in this blog post, are Venetian in origin.  We were fortunate to purchase a large lot of vintage glass from a local estate, including these flowers.  Because the flowers were part of an estate collection, we were able to learn their history. These particular Venetian flowers were originally purchased in Venice in the 1920's.

These lovely flowers just happen to be in Pantone's color of the year for 2012, tangerine tango.  Vintage corals are a wonderful way to capture this color in your designs, see my blog post here.

We're excited to have these Venetian flowers to offer because vintage glass flowers on wire are becoming increasingly rare. Within that rarity, it is more common to see vintage Japanese glass flowers on wire, so these Venetian ones are quite special. We will have at least 12 different colors available, perhaps more once we finish all the sorting :)

We have many more vintage glass flowers and leaves on wire to offer, including Venetian, Japanese and some Czech. I hope you enjoy seeing our flower collection unfold over the coming weeks!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Featured Artist. Stephania Dapolla of le Petit Foyer and Stephmel

Let us begin the 2012 series of featured artists inspired by the multi-talented artist Stephania Dapolla of Athens, Greece.

And I definitely mean multi-talented! Stephania has 2 Etsy shops, le Petite Foyer for her jewelry designs…

…and Stephmel where she makes available her fine art photography and original paintings. 

Stephania says her jewelry designs are “…an eclectic collection of vintage inspired handcrafted jewelry, which combines old and new elements, colours and styles in a romantic and whimsical way…made in small series or are one of a kind, with love, special care and quality materials, vintage and antique gems or ethnic findings…”

I know you will also enjoy discovering Stephania’s dreamy and evocative art photography, which to me is poetry in picture form.  

Stephania’s photography has been featured on the blog Photographers of Etsy, interviewed by Steve Raley of PhotoGrunt, where she talked extensively about her work, saying in part, “…I try to hear the whispers from the past and to read the old stories hidden behind the locked doors. I am very happy to hear someone saying that in one of my photos they recognized even vaguely a moment or feeling from their own personal history…”  You can read the full interview here.   

Stephania does bring together her photography and jewelry designs, such as in this lovely necklace.

A person who incorporates art throughout her life, Stephania also paints and restores religious icons in the many ancient churches in Greece. To learn more about Stephania, check out this blog feature.

I hope you will enjoy visiting le Petite Foyer and Stephmel to view Stephania’s art and designs!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: The Year of Tangerine Tango

Happy Tangerine Tango 2012!

Pantone has chosen Tangerine Tango as the color of the year for 2012.  On the Pantone website, "Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward."

Sounds like a good start for a new year, yes?

Tangerine Tango caught my attention because so many of the vintage coral colored supplies sold at Bumbershoot Supplies are pretty much tangerine tango by another name. 

Sometimes orange can be a bit of a challenge to execute in designs or in personal adornment, but these vintage shades are really accessible and may add just the touch to reenergize your designs and creative process as we enter a new year. 

You can learn more about Tangerine Tango on the Pantone website, try here and here.

You can search Bumbershoot Supplies using the term "coral" to see all of our vintage coral items.