Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vintage Costume Jewelry

Most everyone who reads this blog is here because they have an interest in hats: looking at them, learning about them, discussing them. But I started this blog as a showcase of not only what I do as a milliner, but what my shop, aMuse, carries other than hats and headpieces.

This is my first entry about the fabulous collection of vintage costume jewelry aMuse has in the jewelry cases. Jewelry started as a tiny portion of the merchandise at the shop, but I quickly determined that practically everyone who came in was mesmerized by the bling. Sparkle in the cases, sparkle in the eyes!

aMuse is known in town as a place you can get quality vintage jewelry from the 1880's to the 1980's. Most of it is from the 1940's through the mid-1960's. There are LOTS of rhinestones! Think back to the vintage Vogue magazine photo shoots--the models in their gorgeous clothes and jewelry draped everywhere--necks, ears, arms, shoulders, fingers. That's the kind of jewelry we have.

The above necklace is in the style of Haskell, Robert, and DeMario, although it was not marked.

This sparkler is a verified Juliana necklace--one of the most sought after designer names in costume jewelry.

Very wide brushed gold-tone bracelet spaced with rhinestones. Can't you just see this on a glam arm holding a dry martini?

Bling bling!

Oh. My. Gosh! These rhinestone earrings are about 3" long and full of fire! Notice the different shapes of stones. Quality stuff.

Pave rhinestones that twinkle all over the room, especially since the bottom teardrop swings freely.
I'll post some other jewelry in the future. Just thought it was time so show off some of the great pieces in the collection, which changes constantly due to the popularity of vintage costume jewelry. Doesn't hang around the shop too long! Make a statement at your upcoming holiday parties with vintage costume jewelry; get noticed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bridal Millinery

I make alot of hats during the year. Straw. Felt. Sinamay. Abailk. Buckram. Wire. Straw Braid. And the vast majority of those are custom-made for clients. Sometimes I sell the ones in the shop but that is a rarity. Usually those are sold to someone who has waited until the very last minute for a special occasion and comes running in to get something for the event. That's fine. Always some hats on the mannequins for folks to try on and get ideas for the custom-made hats. Ah.

And then there are my lovely brides. Gotta love them. My bridal clients tend to be young ladies (and mature ladies as well) who have a strong sense of their individuality. They are not, as I say, 'cookie cutter brides.' They are not usually the brides you see in the Sunday paper. Yes, they may have a traditional dress, but the shoes may be red, or flip flops, or none! The jewelry is usually from our vintage collection. All put together for a uniquely beautiful bride.

I have NEVER sold a single bridal piece that is in the shop. You: "Never? Doesn't that worry you?" Me: "Not a bit. I want the bride to come up with her own ideas, guided by what I can offer her to get that idea to gel. That includes looking at new and vintage materials, pictures, sketches, and talking it all through. The pieces in the shop are starting points. We design a one-of-a-kind piece from all the elements available."

So. Below you will see just a few of the pieces I've made for my brides during the last year. Enjoy!

Beauty-marked ivory veiling with emu feathers.

Very wide vintage horsehair braid with biots, coqs, and sequins, pearls and beading.

1940's inspired bridal veil with handmade silk flowers with gilded embroidery stitching and vintage glass glitter stamins. Gold embroidery edging.

Headband of white veiling sprigs and a twisted flower made from remnants from the bridal gown.

Ivory pleated silk Juliet buckram form with handmade silk lillies. Delicate vintage face veiling.
I love my brides!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Flat Felt Hat Pictures--Millinery Class at Arrowmont

Here are more pictures of the great hats made at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft. Pictures speak louder than words. All are made from flat felt skirting by my talented students.

Thanks, Erin, for sending these along for all to enjoy!

Fabulous, fabulous job, ladies!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Arrowmont Millinery Class--Flat Felt in the Smokey Mountains

Hello again! I realize it has been a while since I've posted to the blog, but I wanted the fundraiser to be front and center on the blog until we closed it yesterday. Thanks, too, to all who contributed to such a worth cause. Muchly appreciated!

Many things to catch up on, but the most recent are the results of a class I taught at Arrowmont School of Art and Craft in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, last weekend. Arrowmont, one of the US's most prestigious art and craft schools, is nestled up against the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and the leaves on the trees were were my students. The class was entitled Hats That Felt Good: Retro Hats From Flat Felt, and the hats were fashioned after hats that we usually think of as those in the great 1940's movies. Many of those were made from flat felt or felt skirting as it is also known. And that is what the class was based on. Scroll down for some yummy hats.

I took quite a few true vintage hats with me for the class to look at, plus some pictures of vintage hats from that era, and even a few I've made myself. To say this was a creative class is rather an understatement. There was TONS of creative spark in the class and the results showed that.

Above you see a closeup of a two-toned number. You'll see the finished product a bit down the page. Don't you love this? Fabulous job!

We had several professional costumers in the class, and McLeod, above, was one of those. Somehow I just believe they were strong influences for the class--fun, creative, willing to share, and energetic! Here she's working on one of two hats she made in class. Dang if I don't have a single picture of her incredibly detailed leaf hat. Maybe she'll send one and I'll post. (Hint.)

How many hats can you make in a weekend? Well, I think this may be a record--5!! And each and every one of them wonderful. Yep, another of the costumers.

Diane has been to quite a few of my classes over the years, and continues to impress. Here we see the front (and next a side view) of a burgandy fur felt with a snazzy chin veil.

Pretty cool, huh?

Ah, and here is the finished hat that you saw a close-up of further up the blog. Lots of tedius work in the creation. Looks like a striking water lily...with streamers.

And here are the two hats Shirley made. The one up front is an abstract version of a toque, and the other is a very delightful perching hat made from many many pieces 'patched' together. Nice.

Another two-toned hat with some biot feathers. You'll see Jean wearing this one in the final picture of this blog entry. Lots of great ideas, lady!

And here is a group shot of 5 of the 13 class members--Terri, Jean, Erin, Diane and Lynne. Stylin' with a reason!!!
For those of you who don't know, flat felt was manufactured for years and years as a millinery medium. But somehow it lost favor and was no longer produced until millinery supplier Sandra Leko of Hats by Leko found someone to make this soft as butter skirting in Russia. It is a dream to work with and can be stitched from patterns, draped, and even blocked to some extent. An old, old skill made quite contemporary by some very talented students. Good job Arrowmont students!