Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unpacking Chromophilia

Yesterday I met with Devienna Anggraini, we are co-curating Chromophilia together, to talk about the fast approaching show. We visited the gallery at Craftland to check out the space, discuss display, and check out some of the work that's already started coming in. I think that we must have looked like two little girls in a candy store as we thoroughly investigated every little bauble that's arrived so far!

One of the artists that who we've received work from is Amy Weiks. She has sent us a series of exquisite brooches from a series titled Equal and Opposite, which I've always admired... But, finally getting so experience them in real life totally blows away my expectations! I was honestly kindof flabbergasted at her craftsmanship, her composition, and her unique hardware. The gallery was a cacophony of 'Oohs' and 'Aaahs' as we unwrapped one brooch after the next.

These brooches subtly investigate her explorations of material, form, and function. They also reflect her working process quite nicely, leaving her hammer marks as an honest portrayal of her method of forming. I really can't say enough about these brooches... I can't wait to see what else comes in the mail, and finally how the show looks fully installed!

Top image: Dev and Margaret fawning over a brooch
Bottom image: Equal and Opposite brooch by Amy Weiks

Friday, August 13, 2010


While I was in Scotland, I discovered an interesting piece of traditional Scottish jewelry, luckenbooths. A symbol of love and devotion, luckenbooths are brooches that were given as a gift to a bride from the groom on their wedding day, and subsequently pinned to the shawl of their first baby in order to protect it from evil spirits and fairies.

These brooches feature either a heart topped with a crown, or two interlocking hearts with a single crown, thistle, or cross on top. Apparently, the original design for the luckenbooth came into Scotland with the Vikings about 800 AD.

In Celtic lore, the fairies, who were inordinately fond of human milk, often would steal the baby in a household and take its place. A luckenbooth pinned on the baby’s shawl protected the baby from the mischievous fairies.

These pieces have similar symbolism as the Irish Claddaghs, and it seems that the luckenbooths remain one of Scotland's most romantic artifacts. I really fell in love with this token of devotion which also double as an amulet of protection, and ended up getting a tattoo of one while I was in Edinburgh!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Edinburgh Conquests...

While I was recently in Edinburgh, I visited The Antiquity Shoppe. Although I was on a specific mission to find antique coins to add to my travel bracelet, I ended up finding so many more treasures at The Antiquity Shoppe!

The shop is nestled into a winding road just off the Royal Mile as you head down to Waverly Station. The display window is completely filled with antique jewelry, coins, and silver ware... It reminded me of a candy shop window, with all the tantalizing goodies just begging me to come in and take them home. Once inside you're overwhelmed by towering stacks of display cases from floor to ceiling. With little elbow room, it takes a cautious buyer to peruse the wares. I came across an antique ring sizer, which I regretfully didn't purchase, some wonderful watch fobs, lockets, and mourning jewellery.

I did take home with me some pieces that were exceptionally beautiful. As you know, I like padlocks... so I decided to purchase a 1960's sterling silver heart padlock bracelet. I also purchased a mourning brooch, which appears to be made of dyed horn or possibly gutta percha. The hand is holding a spray of flowers isn't necessarily a memorial piece, but, the hand links itself to the first stage of mourning in its material. I also purchased a lovely little enameled locket. The gold locket has a floral design enameled on one side, while the other features a tiny portrait of a bride. She was just so beautiful and lonely, I just couldn't leave her to collect dust.

click on the image for a larger view.

The owner of The Antique Shoppe, Simon Cavanagh, and his mother were both phenomenal people. They were both helpful and knowledgeable. If you are ever in Scotland, this shop is definitely worth a trip to Edinburgh... I will surely be going back!

The Antique Shoppe
49 Cockburn Street
T:0131 226 3391

Monday, August 9, 2010

Travel Bracelet

While my mother was away in England, I found myself wrist-deep in her jewelry box. On my quest for something to borrow, I came upon an old bracelet made out of coins from various countries. It must have been someone's souvenir travel bracelet.

This is'nt it... This is a picture of my own travel bracelet, which I recently put together from my old leftover coins. The coins are actually quite beautiful, my favorite is the British farthing with the little wren pictured on it. Also, the Mexican cincuenta centavos piece is from 1955 (I had picked it up at a mercado), and shows the legendary eagle with the snake in it's mouth atop a cactus.

I like the idea that this piece of jewelry has the ability to take me back to different places and times so easily. And, if I ever run out of cash I can just take the bracelet apart and spend the coins!