Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Paca House and Gardens, Annapolis, Maryland

     The jewelry has arrived at the Paca House and Gardens and is on display with many original pieces!  I am honored to be a volunteer there a few times a year and for special occasions.  

     A month or so ago, I posted on Facebook about the creation of several pieces for this house museum's dressing area.  I was able to work with Historic Annapolis's Curator of Collections, Pandora Hess on the project.  She and I discussed the style and materials of the pieces.

     We looked at several portraits between 1765 to 1772, and decided upon the look for their display that comes from the Martha "Patsy" Custis Washington miniature dated 1772. The Paca House and Gardens interprets the lives of William and Mary Chew Paca from the time the house was built to when Mary died in 1774.

Martha Parke Custis in miniature by Charles Wilson Peale, 1772

Pearl and Garnet Necklace with a Miniature of William Paca on display
(Gown made by The Silly Sisters)

     Pandora also wanted a personal touch as nothing is left that they know of of Mary, so we added a wedding ring with William and Mary's marriage date, another miniature by a different artist, and a pair of my garnet paste Charlotte buckles to match the strawberries in the gown on display. Garnets were very popular during this time period, and information can be found in newspaper ads in Annapolis that can be traced back to England imports.

Gold-Filled Ring with "W.P 23 May 1763 M.C.P" engraved inside

Garnet Paste Charlotte Shoe Buckles, Miniature on a Ribbon, and Wedding Ring

Gown Detail

Garnet Paste Charlotte Shoe Buckles, Miniature of William Paca hanging from a real Garnet necklace, Gold-Filled engraved ring, and White Cultured Rice Pearl necklace

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Archduchess Maria Christine by Marcello Bacciarelli, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria 1766

     A bespoke item for a special client - this was a custom order that I was recently asked to make.  I must confess, I have always loved this portrait of her jewelry - but how to recreate it?  

 Archduchess Maria Christine by Marcello Bacciarelli, Kunsthistorisches Museum, 
Vienna, Austria, 1766

     I started with the earrings and hair sprigs.  I love repurposing old earrings, so found some lovely 1950's clip-ons and layered them with brass filigrees that I was also going to use for the hair sprigs and converted them for a pierced ear - my client did not have any metal allergies which made it easier.  I found some lovely crystal clusters as well and put them together.


I then also created the hair sprigs by hand.  I have been creating these for awhile, so it was easy to make.  My client wanted five versus the eight or more on Maria Christine.

Hair Sprigs up top and Earrings on the bottom

The necklace was another challenge, and I studied it close up to figure out how I would create it.  I want something close, but also wearable.  I figured out that it was probably velvet with crystals and lace.

I sewed ribbon on the end of the velvet in which to tie behind as the portrait shows - it is fain, but you can see it.

Full set but the necklace turned out lovely 

Let me know what you think!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Mrs. Alice Hooper - Reproduction Necklace and Earrings

     I will be attending the Jamestown Settlement Craft Fair from 3-4 June of this year!  If you are down that way, do come by the fair and see me and the other vendors.  We will not only demonstrate our craft - we will be making pearl necklaces, but we will also have the entire shop with us and all items available to purchase.  

     During my discussions with the events personnel at the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, we discussed jewelry of course!  They were looking for jewelry for the display of Mrs. Alice Hooper by John Singleton Copley within the Museum of the American Revolution - Yorktown.  More information about Mrs. Hooper can be found here by Judy Anderson.

Mrs. Alice Hooper by John Singleton Copely, 1763 (Milwaukee Art Museum)

     Creating the look that I wanted required some thought - especially using ready-made findings and vintage pieces.  The necklace that Mrs. Hooper is wearing was possibly of garnets and paste, showing her social status and the common fashion of the 1760's.  I have seen many imports of garnets in jewelry in my research, and wrote an article on 18th century necklaces which you can read here.  

     I have seen this necklace before on Mrs. Barnard Elliot by Jeremiah Theus, 1767.  I was even able to find the photo of an original on the Rowan and Rowan website.  It is really awesome to see a portrait, tie it to an actual piece for sale, and then try to recreate it to the best of my ability.

Original Garnet necklace circa 1770 via Rowan and Rowan

     I decided to only do three strands of the garnet crystals for my reproduction.  Having different size crystals made it a challenge to keep the same length when adding it to the center piece.  Mrs. Hooper also required some earrings - of which I re-purposed a pair of 1950's rhinestone clip-on earrings for her.  It simulates the paste clusters of the day.

1950's repurposed earrings made new

Mrs. Hooper mannequin
(Photo Courtesy of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Within the final museum display
(Photo Courtesy of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Mrs. Hooper's jewelry - Close-up - different from the Rowan and Rowan original and that of Mrs. Elliot - but a common design!

My interpretation of the center area

More of the necklace - with the repurposed pair of 1950's 
earrings that I changed into leverback

     Now to await the photos on Mrs. Hooper in Yorktown!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March Charlotte Buckle Blowout!

     Every year in March, I will have a "Buckle Blowout" sale! This year is the first, and we will start with the first buckle I have offered - THE CHARLOTTE.  This is a buy one pair and get another pair for $10!

     They are available in clear, emerald, olivine, garnet, sapphire, and rose as well as variations in citrine/clear, montana blue/clear, garnet/clear, amethyst/clear, and emerald/clear.  

Coupon codes are ~

BLOWN for the clear (a $30 savings)

BLOWN2 for all colors or with color (a $35 savings)

Photo by Molly Picture Studio Photography

Colors that are available are Garnet, Sapphire, Olivine, Emerald, and Rose

Citrine and Clear

Montana Blue/Clear

Clear with Red bows (also available with Emerald and/or Amethyst bows)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pearl Parure after Caroline Murat Bonaparte by Elisabeth vigee LeBrun, 1807

     A client requested a special custom order to go with a gown she was making - the pearl parure shown in the painting of Caroline Murat Bonaparte by LeBrun.  To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about making it.  How in the world would I put it together?  I decided to take the challenge, and thought about the design and construction for quite some time.  

Portrait of Caroline Murat Bonaparte by Elisabeth vigee LeBrun, 1807
(Wikimedia Commons)

Detail of the Portrait of Caroline Murat Bonaparte by Elisabeth vigee LeBrun, 1807 
(Wikimedia Commons) 

     Realizing that the tiara being worn by Caroline was possibly a headband of some type that wrapped towards the back of her head, I wondered at how it could stay on without many many pins - which is how she must have worn it.  Deciding I wanted something a bit easier to put in the hair and that would last for my client, I put it on a tiara base instead.

Tiara - the beauty of this design is that it can be worn up front or in the back of an up-do

Full parure - tiara, belt/sash, necklace, bracelets, and earrings

 Belt/Sash - hooks added to the back of the cameo, and at the ends to her gown so as not to put any pressure on the piece and give the illusion of a full belt

Earrings - sterling silver earwires with a white cultured pearl button cabochon and a vintage glass dimpled pearl teardrop 

Bracelet clasp detail

Monday, February 6, 2017

Darnall's Chance House Museum, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

     In 2016, Darnall's Chance House Museum purchased some items to resell in their museum shop. At that time, we discussed the jewelry for their displays.  The ladies represented are Mrs. Luke (Elizabeth) Marbury and Miss Margaret Lee. 

     The ladies are dressed for a party.  They are in the room with Mr. Colomores Bean and Mr. George Lee.  The history of the house can be seen on their website at this link.  

The Ladies before

     Since the house is interpreted for the mid 18th century, I started doing research using portraits that included opening up my copy of Painters and Paintings of the Early American South by Carolyn Weekley published in 2013 as well as looking through my files which I have amassed quite a few on Pinterest

     In collaboration with the site director, Susan Reidy as well as with my friend Philippe Halbert, a doctoral student at Yale University, we came up with a look at that representative of the social status of the ladies, as well as what was somewhat common to that time period.

     My inspiration came from Mrs. Matthew (Mary Orange) Rothery by John Durand dated 1773, Colonial Williamsburg; Elizabeth Moffat Sherburne by John Greenwood, circa 1750, Yale University Art Gallery; and, "Heads of Beauties" painted by Thomas Frye circa 1760.

Elizabeth Moffat Sherburne by John Greenwood, circa 1750, Yale University Art Gallery

A Fashionable Lady with her Right hand on her Left Wrist by Thomas Frye circa 1760

The ladies in the house were given a refresh over the past month and the jewelry was added!  The items that we chose turned out to truly represent the jewelry fashion of their time and look amazing.

 Swarovski Crystal pearl bib necklace with ruby Swarovski Crystal girandole earrings

We decided to use a ruby crystal in the earrings to pull out the reds and pinks in the gown

Miss Lee

Black velvet choker, garnet necklace with Swarovski Crystal hair decoration, and 1950's repurposed pearl cluster earrings

On Mrs. Marbury - we decided to change the pearl cluster earrings to a garnet and pearl drop

Mrs. Marbury

The finished ladies!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia, PA

     In a collaboration with Henry Cooke, two of my watch chains, seals, and keys will be on the displays at the new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, PA.  Mr. Cooke is a well known tailor in the reenactor community as well as for museum sites.  He also made the clothing for the George Washington displays at George Washington's Mount Vernon here in Virginia (of which I have seen many times).

     It is an honor to have my items in the new displays, and hope to do more collaborations in the future.  I should have clearer photos once the displays are complete for the opening on 19 April 2017.

"Brawl at Cambridge Camp," January 1776 - George Washington breaks up a fight between Glovers Marblehead soldiers and Morgan's Virginia Riflemen with African American sailor pummeling another rifleman

Close-up of General Washington (no naughty thoughts!) 

"Bittersweet Reunion" in December 1776 with Lt. Charles Wilson Peale placing his greatcoat on the shouldres of his brother Ens. James Peale of the Maryland Line with a soldier of the First Maryland, campfollower, and child

Detail of Lt. Charles Wilson Peale