I am grateful for fabric dye that didn’t need hot water. Because of this dye, I could make a beloved dress gifted to me by the Minotaur, NOT pink. He thought it was red, but alas, it was pink.
No longer pink! Yay! Sewed pretty silver buttons on to replace pink ones! Purple like wine!
I am grateful for recycling. Recycling of yard sale jewelry with a bit of leather cording and a photo from a too-costly catalog! (Yes, I am again window shopping and altering versions in Rob Redford’s pricey out-of-my-paygrade catalog. Unfortunately, said catalog was recycled before I snagged the scan of the page!)
The chocolate pearls and beads on bottom strand were from a $5 find at a yard sale. About $1 of leather cord and a strand of $3 sparklies and some old metal charms finished me a deeper, darker version of a necklace that cost about $130.
I am grateful for help and healing. In this case, help from my skillful youngest son, who used a planer to make old cedar fence scraps into 6″ x 14″ smooth panels to re-create a miniature of something I love so much it made me long to be a master thief! Over a dozen years ago, we first visited the Seattle Asian Art Museum, when I was still mourning the running away of my youngest son. There was a beautiful room screen — six panels I thought were of wood (but are actually paper covered with gold leaf!) with a murder of inky black crows! It lit something in my failing heart like nothing else. I wanted to fold it up, tuck it impossibly under my arm and runaway home with it!
I didn’t, of course. The gorgeous, fragile screen was from Edo Period Japan — had centuries of time in it’s fragile folds. But this week, with the help of my returned now grown up (clear into his 30’s!) son, I made myself a decoupaged miniature of the screen out of a museum poster! Mine is about 14 inches tall and a bit more than 30 inches long. It is not hinged; but connected across it’s back by two old leather belts – one belonged to my Runaway/Raptor son in his teens and was left behind; the other was the one I wore in his absence.
So help and healing, a loss of fifteen years from our lives connected with paper, glue, gilding pens, and leather! Good thing, too, because the museum has not displayed the very fragile original in about a decade now!
I decided playing with jewelry re-vamps, recycles, and cheap knock-offs was a thing to do in the recent weeks of social hell. I may not be able to affect much in my society, but I DID take charge of my own mood of despair and ugliness. So, yes, I am grateful for distractions and some creation of beauty.
First, using a leather strap with pewter-colored clasps, that was $2.50 at Michaels (on clearance), I created a knock-off of yet another greatly over-priced necklace I saw back in December in Robert Redford’s pricey, pretty catalogue. No other costs as I used old beads I rosary-chained, an old piece of drilled shell and several old cast-off charms. Literally, this was jewelry junk drawer work. It has some satisfying heft and reminds me of many old friends, some long lost, some dead. And it didn’t cost a couple hundred bucks!
Second, since the many hummingbirds I feed have been in moult, I’ve been searching for fallen feathers. With acres to fly around while feathers fall, I don’t find many — but since the Minotaur gave me a gift of beautiful dyed cultured pearls for our re-commitment ceremony last month, I made him something special, too. He got the very best feather — the tail feather of an Anna’s hummingbird! I didn’t find very many others — some from the wings of little rufous hummingbirds, and some tiny downy bits from the neck ruffs.
Last, I took two used necklaces picked up very cheaply and re-vamped/recycled them into something better. Both were made of pearls, one had an ugly dangly bit that I cut free at once. I had been holding onto a lovely fossil – opalized ammonite that I got for $3; I got it wire-wrapped and some tiny pearls and jet dangled attached for a better look! The other delicate tiny fresh-water earls were enhanced with a tiny amethyst! Surprisingly, the used $2 brass and mother of pearl earrings look great with either one!
I like updating old jewelry pieces, or completely disassembling them to re-create new things. I use some things so done as gifts and add others to my own eclectic collection of nothing very valuable, but all very wearable!
Among the things I don’t believe in? Spending too much money on pretty trinkets!
I get a lot of catalogues. One I dearly adore looking through is called Sundance. Yes, it is associated with Robert-by-god-Redford. It is full of beautiful things. It is also completely out of my price range/pay grade. I think you might just need to be the Sundance Kid to acquire many things in this catalogue! But isn’t that necklace there at left really pretty?
Sure, it is a bit sunny an pastel-ish (omg! pink pearls?) for me, I admit. But I was really charmed and thought it a nice piece of casual costume jewelry — after all, freshwater pearls are not a fortune, money-wise. Then I looked at the price. $598?!? Are you joking? I’m not laughing. My mood darkened considerably. Dear Robert-by-god-Redford, not everyone is a blinking movie star!
So I did what I usually do when something is out of my price range. I make something equally satisfying for myself. Mind you, I “collect” from junk stores, antique/collectible stores when I find bargains. In the last couple years I spent about $20 on six strands of various cultured freshwater pearls. I had already pearl knotted most of these on silk and put them into necklaces that were pretty, but a bit fussy and conventional for my slightly grungy, dirty-earth-hugging-Bernie-Sanders-delegate self. So today, I got just half those pearls out and took them off the findings. I spent a bit over $20 on new charms and some earring base pieces. And I produced my own stylistically similar, altogether more darkly inspired statement necklace! The “dark like my heart” pearls! This doesn’t make me Butch Cassidy, does it?
About fifteen years ago, I found a little wooden monkey that was in an odd assumed position — flat out like Superman. But he had no wings. I had to buy/rescue the poor little (Un)Flying Monkey. A year later I bought a winged angel figure made of reeds — but her wings were wooden and a perfect fit for the poor monkey! That angel wasn’t flying anyhow!
Last month, I took to carving wood myself to recreate a pair of wings for the head of a Crow Mother kachina doll. I corrected the paint color on her “ruff” too – though it took me two tries to get it the shade of a fox skin and as aged looking as the rest. She was another “rescued orphan” purchase of mine.
I don’t like things broken and abandoned — whether small kitschy objects of art, or beautiful symbols of community life! Nor do I like pop culture when it is unsure of it’s finished project. Like the Disney movie “Maleficent”, for instance, the latest version seeking to “rehabilitate” that “wicked” “13th fairy not invited to the feast for lack of enough dinnerware (in original story).
I for one did not think she needed rehabilitation; she was the offended party first. She was my favorite “villainess” for years. So I did like the new movie. But when toys and all came out, oddly all the figures were of Maleficent without her wings, in her crippled and embittered form. Nonetheless, I bought one to adorn the dashboard of the Minotaur’s new “retirement” car that he purchased six months before leaving work for the last time. This is because we named the car after Maleficent, he saw one like it in the parking lot as we went to see the movie you see? And after the movie drove to the nearest dealership to claim one of his own! So of course, She was the emblem and had to rule the car.
But she had no wings. Damn it. So I fixed that, today. I saw a toy dragon on sale half off; I know a dragon or two who could use a bit of humbling and “grounding”, hehehey!? So off they came! Thus Maleficent has her wings back. I feel quite uplifted myself by this bit of ‘rehabilitation’. It does not hurt that it happened the afternoon after the precinct caucuses for Washington State, when I stood up to speak publicly for Bernie Sanders. Of our precinct’s five delegates to go to the next level, Sanders got three. In fact, he is taking the STATE! So don’t you let anyone tell you something just can’t fly until you’ve done your damnedest to give it wings!
My little Navaho-made Crow Mother kachina, a broken orphan I told you about before? I finished the repair job today. Last week, I had roughed out the shape of the crow wings to adorn her little head. But my wood-burning tool was away being repaired itself – so I could not finish.
Today’s mailbox contents delivered me from the suspense of waiting! I unlimbered it and warmed it up almost immediately.
Carving the feathering of the crow wings struck me as very difficult for my level of (in)competency, but I knew one of my wood burning tips etched deeply into any dry wood. It had taken me six tries to get a pair of wings not broken in some fashion and roughly symmetrical.
So I burn-etched the feather details into to soft cottonwood root wood, on both sides. My next worry was that I would end up with wings and yucca “whips” looking too brilliant and new. I have no idea as to the age of this kachina — my guess is late 1980’s or 1990’s and the paint looks like it was very lightly applied or is very faded.
Most kachinas seem to present the yucca plant bits in brilliant white for the root area and very bright green at the top. That would look out of character with the rest of the piece, I thought. Also, the “ruff” like feather at the top of the shoulders was a peculiar color very at odds with every other Crow Mother I’ve ever seen. So that was the only alteration to the non-replaced bits — <del>I darkened it to an evergreen shade</del>I repainted it to look like a fox skin ruff, tho’ the picture above does not show the correct color.
Last I painted the wings and then rubbed the paint off to both lighten the effect and show the etched in feather details. Once they were dry, I glued them in place in the grooves where the originals had been. I had no idea, of course, what the original wing pieces were like. But the straighter up and down style on my Hopi Crow Mother didn’t strike me as working for this one.
So I made the new wings more wing-like; it is possible I had winged’ Valkyrie helms too close in my mind! But I am satisfied with the effect and she has taken her place on my altar! Where she can daily remind me to accept new things, changes, and personal growth as a sign of life, not a sign of duress and defeat!