Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Windows, NYC Style, 2014

Over the years I have tried to get out there and brave the hordes and freezing temps to photograph holiday windows around NYC. It was easier when I lived on the Upper East Side, when I could walk down Madison Avenue and click away at the elegant boutiques and their Christmas decor, stopping at Barney's, then make a right on 57th to Bergdorf's and a left on Fifth Avenue down past Saks and if I had any energy left fighting the crowds, to my final destination, Lord & Taylor. Adding Macy;s to this list involved energy I never possessed, and even L & T was a stretch. Bloomingdale's holiday output is uneven from year to year so I don't always bother with them, but Barney's, Saks and Bergdorf's are always worth the effort.

Here are some pictured from this year's trip. The crowds are pretty crazy but at least it's not as cold as it was last year (not yet, anyway).

I took these at Barney's a few weeks ago on my way to an appointment with my iPhone, in a rush, so I couldn't stop for as long as I usually do. These windows were designed by Dennis Freedman, Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin and are called "Baz Dazzled."

Some text has been copied from the Barney's website here. (this explains the different type used)

Front of Barney's with candycanes and gold.

I shot a short video but don't know how to transfer it to this blog, so if you go to the link above, you will see Barney's videos of their windows in glorious motion.

The Spirits of the Snow star in this window, realized by Washington-based artist Anthony Howe and voiced by Pentatonix. These handmade kinetic sculptures, previously only seen as outdoor wind machines, come to life within the window—the first time Howe’s work has been shown in an interior space. The movement of these spirited characters is entirely generated by wind machines, which sets them into mesmerizing motion.

Artist and sculptor Chris Cole has created an 8-foot-tall, 6-foot-wide steampunk talking owl which gravely speaks his words of wisdom, scored to Pentatonix’s version of Madonna’s “Holiday.”

A magical corner of Central Park is the mythical setting for the first window, which depicts a forest of 9-foot chromed mushrooms in a rainbow of colors. Elphresh the elf contorts and dances in and around his 14-foot-wide gold and bejeweled boom box, in pursuit of his impossible love, Elfemeral.


I was fascinated by the live skater in two windows who performs at certain times during the day. Yes, there is a woman skating in a very small space for hours on end.

"Celestina the ice princess, imprisoned for eternity in her ice cave in our mythical tale, skates forlornly in the last window while dreaming of freedom."

The lighting changes color as she skates.

Next, Lord & Taylor's windows....tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy October!

October is my favorite month! The heat of summer has mostly gone, but there is still some warmth and more than a touch of cool crisp autumn. While this September has felt more like summer than fall, it has been pleasant and the leaves are on their way to changing.

Last month I took my summer vacation to the Jersey Shore again, but this time went to Ocean Grove, a new destination for me. Ocean Grove is a summer community founded by the Methodists, and it's still a Christian-feeling town, and it's dry, although the town surrounding, like Bradley Beach and Asbury Park, within walking distance, are not. A tent village springs up around the Grand Auditorium in summer - house frames that pull out and are covered by canvas, with plumbing and electricity, like a grand camping adventure. The houses are gorgeous, it's quiet and charming, and I was staying at a B & B half a block from the beach. The day I arrived, it was 92 degrees and humid, but the sea breezes were amazing, and the ocean was delicious. It's also a lot faster to get to than Cape May, where I have gone for the last two years, which is a trek, without a car.

Here are some pictures of Ocean Grove and Asbury Park. I hope that you enjoyed your summer, and will have a beautiful fall, wherever you are.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Almost Over - Etsy Treasury

End of summer Etsy treasury that I am featured in: Almost Over by Debbie from Color Garden Jewelry:

Hand dyed fabric, by Ruby Mountain Dye Works

Druzy agate, carnelian and sterling silver earrings by OvertheTop

Yellow Labrador Retriever print by Abee's Art Studio

Hot Color Sea Form Glass paperweight by JA Glassworks

Sunday, July 27, 2014

When Do We Eat? Musings on Hannibal Lecter

Just a quick posting on a late summer night....I have been watching a lot of TV lately, catching up on some shows that I have missed over the years. At the moment I am two seasons into "Spiral", the French police and legal drama so popular in France and the UK. It's streaming on Netflix, and I recommend it.

One of the shows I am fascinated by is "Hannibal". I am a huge fan of that canon and had a customer some years ago who requested some interesting pieces based on these novels (see below). I miss doing themed jewelry and perhaps will get back to it.

Photo by Robert Trachtenberg/NBC

At one of the gems shows this spring I spied a group of Imperial Jasper cabochons that immediately made me think of Dr. Lecter. I filed the ideas away into my memory palace and finally got to work last month on one of them.

Looks like a marrow bone, doesn't it?

I wanted to try out something different rather than setting this cab into a bezel and thus hiding the interesting edges. This all-in-one base, prong and bail idea took longer than I anticipated to execute (heh), but it turned out well. The prongs next time will be thinner and shorter as I think they're a tad overstated, but I like the strength of it and the warm copper with this richly hued gemstone. I gave it a matte satin finish in order to serve as a contrast to the shiny polished surface of the stone.

Since I wanted a long chain for this, brass ball chain is an inexpensive option, and no clasp is required. It's All About the Jasper, so you can have your own bone marrow necklace to wear when the third season of Hannibal begins!

Great gift idea (if a trifle macabre) for doctors as well. It's here.

All right. 

Some years ago, I had a very interesting and imaginative customer who asked me to make a series of custom pieces centered on the Hannibal Lecter books and films. I was already a fan so I didn't have to do much research. At the time I was into altered art dominoes, and in fact have a few pieces left in my shop of older work. I had a huge collection of charms and enjoyed thinking up and making theme-centered bracelets and necklaces. My lovely customer gave me some parameters and graphic files and let me go to work carrying out her wishes. Looking back, it was a dream project as I am a keen hunter of components and enjoyed finding ways to illustrate the many ideas and themes in this canon.

I made a pendant necklace for each of the films/books. 

Hannibal Rising (2007) I made two necklaces for this epic film.

Hannibal Rising #1. Vintage chain with blood-red beads and charms. The tile is a movie poster I put together from images and the back contains text.

Hannibal Rising text tile

Hannibal Rising #1 charms  - a starling, of course

Hannibal Rising #1. A boar, eating utensils, blood, handcuffs - just a regular Saturday night for Hannibal.

Hannibal (2001)


 Same chain, movie poster/text main tile, and pertinent charms.


Hannibal shield of Florence tourist charm - thanks, eBay

Hannibal. Yes, those are brains in a pan. Polymer clay brains - that was fun.

Hannibal charms

Hannibal Rising (2007) #2 necklace

Hannibal Rising #2

Hannibal Rising

Too bad I couldn't find a katana charm - this sword had to do. Silver origami charm, locket of Mischa photo, a teddy bear, a moon charm (forget why), Japanese tensha bead, Asian bead, Nazi Germany coin in filigree which I'd found years ago in a costume rental house.

Hannibal Rising

Hannibal Rising

Red Dragon (2002)

Red Dragon

Mahjong tile, moon phase charms, tooth charm, piece of mirror in filigree, and an eye. Had to use the Francis Bacon painting as well.

I forgot that I had so much of that vintage chain!

Red Dragon

                                                                Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the Lambs

Scissor charms, a lamb, ubiquitous eating utensils, a pearl (Clarice's necklace), starling, handcuffs, and butterfly

Silence of the Lambs

Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Series Necklace

Necklace Charms

You Are The Honey In The Lion - Resin pendant

Silence of the Lambs cell phone charm (remember cell phone charms?)

Hannibal Films bracelet

Hannibal Films bracelet

Hannibal Locket - great Victorian-style beads and a raw metal filigree locket

I ended up redoing this text piece under resin as it's rather sloppy. 
Resin + raw metal can yield discoloration if not sealed before pouring (and sometimes after).

What a trip down memory lane this post was! It was a LOT of work, but most enjoyable. I must ask my customer if she is enjoying the new Hannibal series. Perhaps I'll make something new like these?