Saturday, July 1, 2017

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

     Last year I was given a card by Lauren Muney of Silhouettes by Hand to the Historic Trades Fair taking place in the Jamestown Settlement managed by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation.  The fair takes place the first weekend in June, and I was intrigued.  The fair asks you to demonstrate your craft and sell your wares at the same time.  Since I do not have original tools in which to create my items, and I use new, vintage, or antique elements to create jewelry, I decided to demonstrate how to string pearls as they did in the time.  There is at least one portrait that I have seen of a woman doing this.  She is NOT knotting them.  I believe they strung beads by knotting and by just adding them to thread.

Threading pearls. Detail from Portrait of a Woman, 1745, 
by Johann Ulrich Schellenberg

     While in communication with the site, I had asked if they were in need of any jewelry for a display.  I was put in touch with their exhibitions manager as well as their senior curator.  I was asked for an elegant necklace for the "gentry woman" in the American Revolution Museum.  This "gentry woman" display turned out to be Mrs. Alice Hooper painted by John Singleton Copely in 1763, a portrait I knew well.  I had always admired her necklace and earrings.  More information on her and the portrait can be found at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Marblehead Arts article by Judy Anderson.

Display in the Museum
(Photo Courtesy of the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation)

Mrs. Alice Hooper by John Singleton Copley dated 1763

Close-up of Jewelry on Mrs. Hooper

     The earrings were easy for me to make as I already create this type using vintage 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's clip-on or crew back earrings that I convert into pierced.  The necklace was a different matter in that it had to lay right with the way I had to construct it.  I took my inspiration after the portrait and an original that I saw when doing research on necklaces last year (you can see that article here) on the Rowan and Rowan website of a garnet choker dating to 1770 that is exquisite.

Photo Courtesy of Rowan and Rowan, garnet necklace dating to 1770

My version of the earrings and necklace

     The challenge for them, after they received it, was to put it on the mannequin. The form had permanent pearls built in, and they weren't sure how they were going to do it. The exhibit manager and staff wanted her to look more like the portrait enough to sand off the pearls, repaint her, and add the necklace and earrings that I made.

Mannequin after creation
(Photo Courtesy of the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation)

Mrs. Hooper in the exhibit wearing the Gray Horse jewelry!
(Photo Courtesy of the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation)

     They are very very happy with the result.  I am also very pleased!!!! What do you think?