31 January 2008

flea market friends

tuesdays and fridays are easily my favorite days of the week - why? you ask...well because tuesdays and fridays are the days when my local flea market gets into full swing. beginning at 7am (i'm usually there bright and early) various vendors start setting up and the old-timer's gather in the food hall to get warmed up with scrumptious amish-made sandwiches and pastries. i usually run into the food hall to get a large coffee and then start hunting for treasure. my first stop is almost always at clarence's booth (that's him above). i absolutely adore clarence!! he's always one of the first one's set up and clarence ALWAYS has a smile on his face and a hearty belly laugh to accompany any story. he regularly supplies me with wonderful old watches and odd knick-knacks. but even when clarence doesn't have any new stock, a smile from clarence is the best start to the flea market anyone could hope for.
the next few hours involve A LOT of walking and searching and moments of eureka and i treasure every last minute of it. but without fail - my last (and longest) stop of the day is when I visit my favoritest lady in all of Delaware - Miss Jessie (that's her on the left). Jessie is 84 years young and wise beyond her years. Jessie is simply put, a girlfriend of mine. We talk about anything and everything from politics to recipes to flea market gossip and every conversation I have with her is one to be remembered for years to come. When I first started visiting the flea market, I would go to Jessie's booth to browse her amazing collection of vintage jewelry - but now I visit the booth to see Jessie. the jewelry is just an added bonus.
flea market visits have been interrupted the past few months with super frigid weather and time spent moving house...tomorrow it's supposed to rain. BOOOO! so fingers crossed tuesday will be warm and sunny!

30 January 2008


nothing thrills me more than when fashion photography crosses the threshold of the editorial and enters the realm of fine art. melvin sokolsky shattered that boundary completely with his amazing bubble series of photos for harper's bazaar in 1963. to the left are two of my absolute favorites from that series.

28 January 2008

oh anthracite, oh anthracite

one of the best things about moving is unearthing long-forgotten treasures and the inevitable ephemera oddity. the image at left came from a 1954 souvenir pamphlet for the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company that i found inside a long-forgotten book. the illustration is that of a large cone in which anthracite (coal) was cleaned before it was sent to homes and businesses for heating purposes. the colors in this pamphlet are incredibly rich and bright and the title page of the pamphlet even has some wonderful mid-century advertising copy extolling the virtues of coal:
"how nature baked the cake to keep you warm and comfortable with the heat and sunlight of millions of bygone years. "
as a native Pennsylvanian, it's somewhat heartbreaking to come across the pamphlet - the optimism in its pages nothing but a sad reminder of a burgeoning industry that is all but abandoned now.

26 January 2008

love is in the air

with Valentine's Day just around the corner, I'm trying to "break out the hearts" so to speak and put some heartfelt and romantic pieces into the shop. I've also started taking photographs with props to add a bit of whimsy to each listing. It's hard not to get carried away though - so with my excitement about the new photos, I truly need to make sure I'm not devoting an inordinate amount of time to photography - and make sure every last minute available goes towards creating more jewelry. I can tell it's going to be a challenge!

22 January 2008

convex relations

this portrait is of my great cousin Pauline from when she was a little girl (around 1905 or so). Pauline never married (if memory serves, I believe her fiance was killed during World War I). She lived alone with her Siamese cat and taught Sunday school. She passed away when I was a young teenager. I remember with fondness how she always seemed slightly childlike to me - she was very tiny and gentle and quick to smile. What intrigues me most about this portrait is how the serenity of her countenance conveys a distinct maturity and slight sadness - an unexpected emotion for such a young girl. The dichotomy between the serious little girl and the lighthearted elderly cousin I came to love is puzzling and yet lovely - it's almost as though she had the good fortune to grow from adult to child over the course of her life. if only we could all be so lucky.

20 January 2008

it wouldn't be make-believe

i've sadly never had my picture taken at one of those "olde tyme photo booths". i've never dressed up like annie oakley or bonnie parker and had my sepia toned visage immortalized on a matted photograph. but i do delight in true "olde tyme" photos... and since one of my favorite films is Peter Bogdanovich's 1973 "Paper Moon", I thought I'd compile a few vintage "paper moon" commemorative photos - most likely taken at various state fairs, holiday bazaars, and boardwalk excursions in the 1930s - to share with you. oh...and for more paper moon greatness - check out this amazing flickr set

eco love

a super, deluxe thank you is in order for the lovely folks over at sprig.com (the green-minded, sister site to Newsweek magazine) who kindly requested some of my items for a story they were writing about eco-friendly jewelry.
the image at left is the end-result and I'm literally thrilled to have three pieces featured in this incredibly styled shot (photo by Youngna Park).
all three are available over at the shop - and please be sure to check out the websites of the other incredibly talented designers featured in the article: jill alberts, toby pomeroy, pyrrha, origami bijou, and reverie.

19 January 2008

flight of fancy

as a designer, it seems not a week goes by without someone asking me, "what inspires your work?" the most surprising thing - for me at least, is that the answer to that question is kinetic. it changes with the wind. almost daily. inspiration can come from the arrangement of silverware at a restaurant, an elderly lady's grace at the supermarket, or a surprising turn of phrase in a novel that up to now has been sort of ho-hum. that's the beauty of inspiration - it's a constant, evolving and sometimes gasp-worthy eureka moment hiding in your sock drawer. one constant inspiration though, is the work of joseph cornell. a bit of a magpie, just like me, his intriguing assemblages range in style from delicate and romantic to scientific and troubling - each one, a reflection of his own psyche and inspired somehow by the world around him. so i shall let him be my answer to that question "what inspires your work?" for this week at least.

17 January 2008

organization exasperation

today was the big M O V E...a flurry of attempted organization over the past few days resulted in the incredible discombobulation to the left! just looking at that photo from last night at 11pm makes my heart race. but thankfully i managed to get all of those vintage bits and bobs into a semblance of order and everything is now in its place. and in my new place - (in central nowhere next door to an amish farm)! the view from the window is one of a serene countryside that has thankfully given my inspiration a bit of a kick-start (pics to come in the following days)...
the new environs have also supplied me with a new obsession: purple martin birdhouses!! they are incredibly co
mmon on amish homesteads and i've always admired them, but living in such close proximity has given rise to a bit of exuberant bird love. my neighbors are the amish and the purple martins!!
the photo here is one i found online, but i'll get some actual pics of my neighbor's house in the next few days (if it ever stops raining). don't you just love it? it's like handcrafted Ritz hotels for our flying friends. now it's time for some whiskey and sleeeeeep!

16 January 2008

fortune for a wallflower

i'm always excited to open a fortune cookie...not that they necessarily offer spot-on fortunes. most of the time they are quite tame and uninteresting...but last night thanks to the big move tomorrow we got some Chinese takeout and this was my fortune.
i imagine this is the fortune for a wallflower...(thus the wallpaper-esque background)

ephemeral lodging

the crystal palace from the great London exhibition of 1851 was a marvel of its time - going from planning to standing in only 9 months...i really wish this architectural oddity/place of wonder was still standing...but alas, it was destroyed by fire in the 1930s. not that it would have survived the nightmarish blitz of 1940/41, but nevertheless i feel cheated out of an awe-inspiring travel experience by its absence.
luckily, similarly ephemeral lodging exists today in both Europe and North America in the form of ice hotels. I'm sure I'll never be able to convince any of my sun-loving friends or family to take a long weekend break in one of these glorious structures (temperatures inside the hotels range from about 23 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit at all times) but at some point I am going to have to give it a whirl.

the beauty to the left is the ice hotel of Quebec, but there are similarly gorgeous examples in both Sweden and in the Finnish Lapland.

I'm ready to sleep on and under some reindeer pelts...who's coming with?...

15 January 2008

in the year of the tiger

Hmmm...I was born in the year of the tiger and I've always felt quite an affinity with these regal beasts. But when I did a little research I found this bizarre dichotomy of ideal jobs for tigers...seems like basically anyone could find their niche here...although this tiger would be a most unsuccessful stockbroker to be sure!

Ideal jobs for tigers include entrepreneur, military officer, politician, musician, writer, poet, artist, theater director, biological and environmental engineer, stockbroker, athlete, film star, trade union leader, company director, stunt person, explorer, and lawyer.

14 January 2008

oddities and inspirations

the concept of phrenology intrigues me to no end. as an artist, i continually wonder how and why my inspiration ebbs and flows from one day (sometimes one hour) to the next. the notion that there are dozens of wee compartments in my mind - each with a window to neighboring compartments is both comforting and exhilarating. i imagine that that the doors of these rooms are left ajar allowing ideas creep in and overlap one another. cogs and gears are rotating. conveyor belts of invention are running on high speed...
and constant creation is inevitable


granted there are perhaps other aspects of my life that would be improved upon with a dash of hearty resolve...but for 2008 i've decided to place my resolve here.
dear blog,
i shall not ignore you as i did throughout most of 2007. i promise to visit you daily, post frequently, and keep you happily engaged.

much love (and endearing devotion),