Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A window shopper no more

Last Friday I went "antiquing" for the first time in my life, real live antiquing.  "Antiquing" to me has always been something older people from Connecticut and New York do.  I remember many a summer when my Grandmother (from CT) and my uncle (from NY) would come to Rhode Island and go antiquing.  My awesome, working class, sheet metal mechanic/commercial fishing dad kind of made fun of it.  He wouldn't be caught near an antique shop;  he did however, religiously pay a visit to the local "Barn Sale" every Sunday.  We would drive down a  long dirt driveway and spend hours poking through what many would call "junk".  A dilapidated barn busting at the seams, full boxes piled high with old postcards, forgotten photos, cracked porcelain dolls, moldy books, dusty lamp shades and centuries worth of mysterious mechanical devices.  My dad would call  me over and hold up something sharp, rusty and definitely dangerous. "Hey Jule, what do you think this was used for?"  I would make my guesses, he would make his and he would inevitably ask the Barn Sale's owner.  My dad was always so friendly and interested in learning about people.  On my first day "antiquing" and schmoozing I believe that I must have been  channeling his energy, chatting up the store owners, asking questions, telling stories, and learning more about antiques, buttons, business building and people.  He would have been so proud.  I loved all the chit chat, but I was also working, no window shopping for me. It was empowering walking into an antique shop and not saying, "Oh, I'm just looking".  Instead, I told the store owner that I was a jewelry maker looking for antique buttons for my pieces. "I focus on Antique Victorian buttons of brass, pewter, gold and oh yeah, I love working with black glass, too." These stores were no Barn Sale, but they'll do.

Below are a few of the pieces I have made from antique buttons.  I'm still perfecting the wire work on the bracelets and rings, but the earrings will be up on my etsy site (safistitches.etsy.com) this weekend.

Bracelet made from Antique brass buttons made extra special because they are pictorial.  Buttons with children on them are rare and are often collected. Late 1800's -early 1900's.

Earrings made from antique Czech twinkle buttons with filigree.  Ornate, beautiful and unusual because they are painted.  You won't find earrings like these anywhere.
Antique Czech brass buttons.  Detailed, shiny and unique.

Large brass button ring, pictorial with cherries. 1880's - early 1900's.

Not antique, but very fun.  Just an experiment for me.  Made to fit my daughter's tiny fingers.

I love this vintage 1950's button ring.  Medium sized bling for a special night out.

Showy and lovely cocktail ring, 1950's rhinestone, just like a movie star.
Antique moose cuff links, anyone?

Hand-crocheted wire wrist corsage with mother of pearl center.  It will have a light, magnetic clasp for easy wear.
As for my hats, they are selling really well.   I've sold them all, have two more on order and have to buy more yarn. Although, right now I'm having difficulty choosing the right yarn.   What a great problem to have.  I was even thinking about buying yarn made from corn.  It's super soft, comes in non-offensive colors, and is vegan-friendly, too.  I am thinking of the vegans because there were quite a few people who loved my hats at the show, but they didn't buy my hats because they were wool.  I promised them that vegan-options were on the way, so this post is for them.  So, back to the hats, would you buy hat made from corn?