A blog about vintage fashion, vintage jewels and art.....

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Grapes, the wine, the grapevine

Children in the press house - Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller (1793-1865) - 1834

As the last of the grapes are harvested on the islands, I discovered this beautiful image that speaks of the rich bounty of grapes. Owning a grapevine is a year-long appreciation of the gifts of nature, a respect for a tree grown over time and yielding fruits that have inspired so many aspects of our life - think not just fruit, think wine, think fabric design, think art, think jewellery, think philosophy, think literature....

These heads of Bacchus, the Roman wine god, and two female followers, known as bacchantes, are carved from highly prized red coral. 1860s.

Grapes to die for

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Birds in mid-flight

It lasts until May 2014 which allows plenty of time to plan a trip to this exceptional exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA. Dedicated to John James Audubon's (1785-1851) illustrations and writings, 'Audobon's Birds, Audubon's Words' is not just about pictures. It captures images which Audubon created by travelling across the east of the US and across Canada during his lifetime spent with an urge to seek out and immortalize indigenous birds within their habitats.

Audubon's book entitled 'The Birds of America' was produced in England between 1827 and 1838. Being a limited edition every time, means that only 120 complete copies of this book remain today. The extraordinary thing about this book is its huge pages, fully illustrated with each page reaching three feet+ in height. It was the most extravagant visual ode to birds indeed. (Span your hands wide open and you can just about visualize how large each page was!)

If you do visit this exhibition, you will get to appreciate some 30 works, including prints from the museum's own copy of the book, as well as a few other smaller publications by Audubon which continue to show more birds depicted by his paintings. To complement his artistic prowess, the exhibition is showing skilled writings from his pen to give further insight into his passion and obsession with birds, his methods of observation and of planning his illustrations. 

 John James Audubon is sponsored by Northern Trust and the exhibition is presented with support from the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund, made possible by a grant from Jan and Warren Adelson.

Read more on The New York Times.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shoes to get you noticed

Neon Shoes

Multi-coloured flats

If like me, you love shoes, chances are you look out for out-of-the-ordinary styles that are attention grabbers, conversation starters and fashion accents in themselves. Wearing these shoes with just a little black dress will be enough of a statement for vintage appeal of substance. 

However, being a seasoned online buyer of vintage shoes, I have also had my fair share of online shoe shopping disappointments. And this is not to say that the sellers from whom I bought my shoes were not up to scratch. More often it was because I made very basic and very silly mistakes during the ordering phase. Buying vintage shoes is different from buying contemporary shoes so take heed of these few tried and tested hints to make your own online shoe shopping experience a pleasant one.

1. Don't just go by size. Ask the seller to give you the exact measurements of the length of the insole, plus the width of the insole at its widest point and at its narrowest point. Then do some homework. Take two pieces of lightweight cardboard,  and draw an outline of each  foot standing flat on each cardboard. Then take measurements of the length of each insole at its longest part and at its widest part. Remember that most people don't have identical insoles and that is why you really need to take measurements of each plantar sole.

2. People seem to have had smaller feet in the past, certainly narrower ones. This is why you really need to check the actual measurements of shoes you are going to buy.

3. Shoe sizes differ between those sold in the US, in the UK and in Europe. Don't assume that the seller really knows how to convert these sizes. Things become somewhat complicated when a shoe size does not show on the shoes themselves. Again, the shoe measurements come in handy. 

4. It's better to have a slightly larger shoe than a slightly smaller one. You cannot overstretch small vintage shoes as these tend to break. But you can insert a thick insole into a slightly larger shoe, to allow a proper fit.

5. If you are selling vintage shoes online, make it easier for buyers to buy your shoes by always including measurements of insoles and you must measure these from the inside of the shoe. For boots, take approximate measurements and add an inch lengthwise.

6. Buy Vintage shoes only from sellers who are able to supply you with crystal clear images that show detail such as the condition of the insoles, the condition of the soles, the condition of the heels and condition of any part of the shoe which is sewed together. 

7. Be Warned - be prepared to find that really  old shoes are likely to break open and come apart especially since old glue will crack and lose strength over time. Resign yourself to the fact that really old shoes are only fit to sit in a museum. 
Silk and wood

Black with a twist

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Inspired by small miracles.....

I came across Jenndalyn Art of mixed media art & photography and was immediately intrigued...... so much so that I asked artist Jennifer Lee to tell me more about her work.....

"My name is Jenn and I am the artist behind Jenndalyn Art! Although I've always been into drawing and painting, even studying art in college, I didn't consider it a career option until two summers ago. I was stuck in a 9-5 office job, the kind of job that everyone is supposed to want, but I only felt miserable and trapped. It was then that I discovered Etsy and began to put the pieces together, realizing that doing what I love for a living was completely possible."

"That was almost a year ago now, and honestly has been the best decision I've ever made. Waking up and knowing that my "job" consists of painting (and that my commute is a ten second walk to my coffee maker with my two cats being the only traffic jams) is indescribable. My work is incredibly busy and colorful, something I was constantly criticized for in college. I cannot help but be drawn to vibrant, happy colors. The majority of my work is mixed media; I am incredibly indecisive by nature and love using anything I can get my hands on. This usually results in a giant mess of the best kind."

"I find inspiration in the small miracles that are constantly happening all around us.... the birds flying in the sky, the sunshine peeking through the trees, flowers stretching up from the ground. If I had to nail down a main, underlying theme of my work, it would be that idea: that life is beautiful and you would not believe the things you can see if you are just paying attention."