Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a lovely holiday season. Stay warm, stay safe and hang out with family... that's what I'll be doing!

BTW, love this idea for a different take on holiday decorating, spotted on Black Eiffel.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blue Jean Cuff

I have been going in some new directions with my fabric jewelry... I have to keep exploring & experimenting with different techniques to stay fresh and engaged!

I had a great linen jean jacket that I hadn't worn in years but hung onto because it was so unusual and high quality; made in Italy. I tossed it in the washing machine, probably shrinking it a bit but didn't care; it was the easiest way to clean it!

By using all the neat bits and bobs like the button-holes etc. it carries me in it's own direction... I like that. When given a new texture or color palette to work with I come out with a new look naturally...

This is the one I am most happy with so far. It is around my fifth attempt and my thinking is maybe I will try another color field for the next one.... do a monochromatic series... yes, I will try that.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Verner Panton

While I was browsing a thrift store the other day I came across this mid-century modern looking textile, 13 inches x 14 inches, stretched on a frame, ready to hang as wall art. It caught my eye as it was so well executed, I just really liked it and thought it would be a good piece for my vintage shop

A lovely vintage fabric seller, also on etsy, sent an email alerting me to the fact that this was likely a Verner Panton textile and worth some money. I took it off my site for now while I research it's value...

Verner Panton (1926-1998) was born in Denmark. He started his career as an architect and went on to design furniture, textiles and whole room 'environments'. He was influential throughout the 1960's and 1970's during the heyday of the pop art/ op art aesthetic.

He produced a series of these graphic color gradation designs in various forms. They were called the Spectrum Series and produced by the company, Mira-X.

I have sent some photographs to a couple of people who specialize in his work. We shall see what comes of it... All in all I'm pretty sure my $2.99 investment will pay off!

...a little update... this textile was cut from a wider piece, probably with 2 other squares side by side. That is why there is no selvedge edge and therefore no maker's mark. This of course will reduce the value for a true collector. It's still a great piece though!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Picasso Smoke and My First Couch

This post is about memory. I like to name my creations. Sometimes it is a bit of a struggle; all my ideas seem contrived which does the work an injustice. With this choker, however, as soon as it was finished it, the title came into my mind immediately.

When I was in my early twenties, I moved out of my shared apartment into my very first home of my own. It was a bachelor apartment in an old building in downtown Ottawa. I set out one day to buy my first couch. Upon seeing a gray/blue velvet Bauhaus couch and loveseat at a furniture store I was hooked. No other furniture would do. It blew the budget but I had those pieces for many years.

What sealed the deal in my mind I am sure, was the name of the color, Picasso Smoke.
Such a gorgeous juxtaposition of words... and exactly the color of the velvet ribbon in this choker. The overall dusky hues also evoked the name. Of all things to remember, so many (!) years later says a lot about memory. I know I have forgotten many details of my life so far; I have forgotten them so I cannot relate how many or why those thoughts have vanished. All I can speculate on is why I do remember what I do.

Picking out that couch was a strong signifier of who I was at the time. I shopped for it alone. Paid for it with my hard earned money from my paste-up artist job. It looked great in my apartment, my choice was the right one. Now that purchase is giving me one more pleasure, the name of my favorite new choker, Picasso Smoke.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Featured Artist #2/ Holly Farrell

Holly Farrell, a Toronto based painter, is my Featured Artist #2 in a series. She has been painting professionally since 1995, which was around the first time I noticed her work, at an outdoor art fair.

There was a purity; an essence of intent, that immediately caught my attention. On one level her paintings are studies of form, time and place. Her 'subjects' are objects yet they are also a representation of a person and how they have interacted with this particular object.

In her late twenties Holly was painting more as a pastime. As this interest grew she decided to become more serious about developing her craft. Going to art school was not an option financially or timewise, so she went about practicing drawing on her own. By using common household items as subjects she gradually taught herself to draw what was in front of her. This progressed to learning to paint in the same manner. This solitary approach to learning technique has imbued a unique quality to her work.

Referring to her work as Portraiture, she feels a connection to the objects she paints and describes these studies as "looking at one thing, one thought, one memory". She however does not see herself as a realist painter and feels the term 'folk realist' better captures her self-taught style. The folk art aesthetic is something Holly feels rooted in; it's simplicity of form and colour is always in the back of her mind as she paints.

I admire Holly's work immensely. She has taken and elevated the still life genre. I feel like I am looking at a soul, a story, a memory and also the aesthetic beauty of an object, that, when all is quiet, we can appreciate for it's own existence.

Holly is currently working on solo shows coming up in Vancouver and Tokyo. She is in private collections in the U.K., Europe, Canada and the U.S.A.

Check out her website here holly farrell.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wallpaper Fragment

We own a building with an apartment and a business in it. I guess we are landlords but I have nothing to do with it, it is my husband's 'thing'.

Next door lived a single man for many, many years. My husband, kind hearted as he is, would stop and chat with him, affording him some human contact that he sadly had so little of.

When he began to notice not seeing him around for several weeks he became concerned and called the police to investigate. They found him, passed away in bed since several weeks.

Fast forward three months. The building sold and new people came in and began gutting the building. They were sensitive to anything they could maintain to the history of the building; these are all Victorian era houses but, ultimately, most of it had to go.

We stopped by to see their progress the other day. It was stripped to the rafters. Above the fireplace, however, was the last in a series of wallpapers. I immediately felt a connection to this paper (sounds a bit out there but, you know) and asked if I could take some. Sure they said, bemused, it was all coming down to be drywalled anyway.

It was really really brittle. I managed to get this one fragment intact enough to hold in my hands. As we walked home, my husband wondered what plans I had for it. I didn't know, exactly, but it was so evocative, so lovely to me I knew something could come of it.

Besides using it in this post, my plan is to make some color copies of it and incorporate the motif into a card, collage or some other paper project... maybe with that old typeset I got at the flea market... I always trust things to make sense if I follow my instincts...

Friday, October 24, 2008

In The Thick Of It

Here is the state of my 'Command Central' as I tend to think of it. Ever since I got my own dedicated studio space in the house (August) I have been becoming more and more immersed in the process of establishing my creative environment. As in, no need to put anything away at the end of a session... let the moment pause but no need to disturb it's bearings... I love that! There is such a tactile connection to the artist's materials and their readiness to be at hand, ready to respond to the hand/mind/eye coordination that in a flash manifests itself in a move propelling the work forward...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Timing Can Be Everything

Driving along, on a glorious fall Saturday afternoon, I decided to take a different route to go and visit my daughter at her cafe job. I was taking some unknown side streets through a leafy neighborhood when I spotted an enticing church rummage sale sign.

I quickly found a parking spot and entered the church basement, encouraged by the signs saying linens, glassware, art...

However what I was met with was people furiously packing up all their tables in clear bags ready to be shipped to a charity thrift store. I soon realized I was coming right at the end of this promising sale, the worst feeling as you can imagine! As I caught glimpses of exquisite lace and crochet work in the plastic bags I kindly asked if I could PLEASE have a quick look and still buy something. As long as I had exact change the answer was sure, go ahead...

So this is what I assembled in a couple of minutes. Perfect pieces of lovely lacey textiles to incorporate into my textile jewelry. As it was the end of their day a total of $5.00 was requested. I happily obliged. Since I have gotten home I have been experimenting with some natural dyes. Pomegranates produce the most delicate pale pink.... If anyone has some other natural dye favorites post them here and we can share some ideas... Happy good timing to everyone!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Thrill of the Find!

I have to admit, I'm having a little too much fun with my new
Etsy enterprise, foundvintagestyle. The thrill of the find; that sums it up!

Here are three of my latest treasures, culled from the sea of junky cast-offs that represent 90% of what I come across in my travels...

However, when my eye lands on that color, texture, shape... I know that it is time to stop in my tracks, follow my instinct and investigate...

I really do marvel and the design aesthetic in so many vintage objects. The colors seem so sophisticated, like in this celluloid jewelry box. It was probably quite a humble object but the softness of the yellow and the smooth texture of the celluloid give it an easy elegance. The transparency of the plastic dishes is understated, the colors are subtle, it just works...

The tooled leather wallet is, well, awesome. (not a word I use very often)! Each side has a different highly detailed tooled illustration. I don't know anything about this art form but it looks like really good work to me. On the inside is a coin slot feature for all the different sized coins. Such a cool detail!

The Art Deco tray I spotted on a table full of lesser things shall we say... However this shape was so classic and those bakelite handles; divine! The glass insert is lovely and practical but the fact that it can be removed and it can simply be used as a tray makes it multi functional. I love the symmetry that Deco embraces. All is in order, the eye can rest because the shape and the proportion are perfection. Simple.

I hope others are as enthusiastic as I am about these lovelies. Leave a comment and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Great Bags on Etsy

Here are but a sampling of some great bags I have discovered on Etsy. Some have already sold but that does not surprise me. Though certainly not inexpensive they are obviously well made and designed pieces worth every penny and more. Considering the prices of commercial 'designer bags' these days the value is amazing and you likely won't see another one on the arm of anyone else!
So to lead you to these tempting beauties here are the links...
1. renneslechateau
2. morelle
3. pipertree
4. zoebags

Friday, September 26, 2008

FoundVintageStyle/My New Etsy Store

A bevy of shoe clips from another era. Why did these stop being made?
I came across them at an estate sale and there was no question I had to have them for my new vintage shop.

They were just the vibe I was after. Fun, stylish and relevant to today's fashion mood. The kind of accessory you can interpret with your own flair.

How very Mad Men. That's what came to mind as I modeled these beauties on my shoes.

I don't feel like a 'grown up' most of the time. Sophistication? Well, in my own way, yes, but not in the getting all dressed up for an evening of socializing kind of way...

These little satin & rhinestone clips on my little black shoes however... strike just the right note. Not taking myself too seriously; classy but with a sense of playfulness...

This must be but a fleeting temptation to keep these enchanting clips for my own dress up fun...

See them for sale here foundvintagestyle.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Decorative Painting/2004

Although this is a job that I completed in 2004, this weekend was the first time I got to see the finished, installed result. I painted all these doors for this lovely country home in a downtown studio space in 2004. My talented husband built me a 'working frame' so I could more or less work on these as a whole in their ultimate installed configuration. (click on photos for more detail).
I had done some work for these clients before and knew they loved folk art. The idea was to make this bank of multiple storage cupboards a focal point within the open concept living space of their newly built country home. I incorporated aspects of their life such as family names, dog's name and illustration of him, date home was built and location etc. This lovely house will likely stay in the family over generations and having this bit of history painted into the decor was a meaningful and fun project for me to work on.
They had a large all day party to mark the end of summer on Saturday which my husband and I attended. A lively French-Canadian fiddle group played music into the evening on the deck and was lots of fun. It was also very satisfying to finally see the doors in their intended space.
Decorative painting was the type of work I had been doing for the past ten years or so. Somehow however, I gradually became more and more enchanted with textiles and less inspired by the paint medium. Possibly I needed to creatively shake things up in order to keep growing... My paints & brushes are now in storage and my sewing machine is out of storage... Funny how things evolve...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my favorite SHOES

Shoes. Not a very deep topic. As my friends and I get older however, shoes are becoming a mild fixation...

They can mirror our mood and if the mood is to be bold we have the confidence to pull it off. Shoe design today verges on art with the amazing shapes and fabrications available. They are a form of personal adornment & expression that contains an element of fun...

A new criteria... they must be make a statement stylish AND be comfortable... Now it is possible to have both, for a price. (I only shop at major sale time).

These turquoise suede wedge slingbacks are made by
thierry rabotin, a French designer who has developed a technique of shoe construction that allows you to wear them all day and still feel great!

Check out his website to learn more about his company. They work for me, I have about five pairs now and I just love the styling! Shoes and Purses... hmmm.... I'll save purses for another post...

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Craft Show Experience, Sept.2008

Here I am at the show. It was a great success in many ways for me even though the weather was less than perfect. On Saturday it was decent with lots of clouds but no real rain. Sunday it pretty well rained all day except for the last two hours. That 'put a damper' on sales for the Sunday. Saturday however was great and I made enough sales to be happy. It was so lovely to see so many people try things on and have them look good in them. So satisfying to know that the designs work! I now have some excellent new contacts with stores in areas I am not represented yet. Positive reactions overall for the uniqueness and artistry of my work...

To the left is a detail of my display that was constructed out of two CD shelves. I kid you not, I found four of these shelves on the curb a couple of months ago and had a feeling I could make something useful from them. They are simply from IKEA but the finish is very clean and neutral so they were a good backdrop. I staggered them one on top of the other and screwed them together. This allowed for a good height on both levels.

This was a lucky find. I was browsing through a housewares shop and saw this pillar candle holder on sale for $10. It is completely hinged and can stretch out to a straight formation (see in background of above photo) or can be pushed together to fit any space. The top area fits my cuffs perfectly and provides that ever important height needed for display. I bought two but perhaps I should pick up some more. My overall plan for my booth came out as I had visualized. The banner I had made at Kinko's was perfect; a subtly prominent branding of my logo. There was an airiness with the flowing gauzy curtains that billowed in the wind. I had made a vintage fabric flag garland that I was unsure how I would use. In the end it made sense to hang it from the outside on the edge of my tent so that people could find me easily amongst the sea of white tents!
The idea of placing a photo montage on the edge of my tent to draw people in worked as planned. They would almost walk by but then their eye would linger on the framed photos and they would often backtrack and come in. Ahhh... the fine art of merchandising!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Crazy Fantastic Find!

Today at The St. Lawrence Sunday Antique Market, I found a typographers dream treasure box! Being a former graphic designer & general type enthusiast, this was too good to pass up. Not only letters in all their 1940's glory, also flourishes, ampersand, dollar & cents... I have not examined it all yet. It also came with 2 type pads & 2 bottles of ink, unopened, in mint condition. I will contain myself from further gloating and not reveal the price. It was a bargain is all I need to say.
So what will I do with this? Ideas are swirling through my mind. I'm sure I can incorporate this in my card making, an obvious application. Maybe even custom cards with monograms? I could apply this to fabric perhaps... The numbers I could make great price tags with for my upcoming crafts show. Please leave any ideas you want to share on the comments page!

Craft Show Preparations...

This looks much better in person. It was tricky to photograph this sign I made but you will get the idea... My thought was, in the instant you have to get someone's attention, let them know what you are selling. My work is on the small side so at a distance it is hard to read what it is. By making this approximately 3' x 2' sign and placing it just outside my tent I hope to attract people to come into the tent and have a look. In the center I added a short bit of text describing the essence of the jewelry and what products I am currently selling. When I set up at the show I will take more photos of it in place and of course report if my idea worked!

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Vintage Textile Cuff

I have been busy sewing, getting ready for the up-coming Cabbagetown Arts & Crafts Show. It is held each year in Toronto, Ontario, the weekend after Labour Day. It runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a beautiful park setting. Approximately 160 exhibitors are selling their work in this juried sale. All we need is good weather to ensure thousands of visitors. This year I will expand my line of goods to include greeting cards, wrist cuffs & chokers. The work has been evolving lately; designs are more free-form and by hand dying some of the lace fragments the color has shifted to a more nuanced palette. This cuff is one of many new pieces I will have for sale. I will be adding more posts leading up to the September 5th. event, documenting the ups and downs of preparing, setting up, selling and recovering from a weekend in the 'craft show world'.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

St.Lawrence Antiques Market/Toronto

I am taking you to the most lovely shop today. If you adore vintage, especially textiles, you will enjoy this tour. This tiny but crammed full of treasures shop is nestled in the corner of the St. Lawrence Antiques Market in Toronto, Canada.The market itself only runs on Sundays however this shop, Ephemera Too, is open on Saturdays also, from 8-2p.m.
Barbara Griffin is the owner of this emporium and is passionate about all things vintage. She specializes in fabrics but has plenty of other treasures that have caught her eye. Mounds of chenille bedspreads, quilts and blankets are stacked neatly on lovely worn wooden shelves.
Crisp cottons are laundered and ironed waiting for a sewing project to inspire. Barkcloth drapes and cushions adorn a corner light by 1940's lamps. Vintage clothing, purses, shawls; any type of accessories you can imagine are to be uncovered here. As you can see from the sampling of what this shop has to offer in these photos, it is certainly worth a look if you live in, or are ever visiting Toronto!

More Images from Ephemera Too

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Before & After/ Found Chairs

I was walking in my neighborhood one day and saw these chairs (there are 2 of them that are identical) standing on the curb, as garbage. Upon closer inspection I could see that structurally they were in perfect condition and extremely comfortable. The curve of the back gave fabulous support and molded nicely to the body. They just needed some TCL, a facelift...
The first job was to strip the awful shellac from the wood. A bit of a task as it turned out! From there I applied a rich deep brown stain and rubbed in a wax finish. I knew an excellent upholsterer from my film industry contacts. He's from 'the old world' and knows his craft! Having chosen a neutral wheat colored twill fabric I kept the cost of materials down and my guy gave me a great deal. Thank goodness I spotted them on the curb that day; they could have been tragically wasted and adding to landfill...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Champleve Buttons

Here are a 'mother/daughter' pair of vintage champleve buttons. They are two of my favorites in my expanding vintage button collection! (For a close-up view just click on the photo).
I have used a few in pieces that have sold and am, for now, hanging on to these...
In French, champleve means 'raised plane'. This refers to the enameling technique in use for these buttons and other decorative objects. By hollowing out areas of metal, leaving a trough, vitreous enamel is added and then fired until it melts. After cooling, the object is highly polished. These buttons also have a faceted cut steels design which catch the light and give a lovely depth to their appearance. Although the larger button has some wear it does not, in my view, detract from it's beauty. The history, the wear they have earned in their useful life is to be embraced!