Monday, March 18, 2013

Opera Jewels!

While at the Metropolitan Opera recently, I had the chance to check out the display cases in the Parterre level, where they usually show personal items that belonged to famous singers of eras past. This time, the windows did not disappoint, and I was thrilled to find some turn of the century bling worn by divas Geraldine Farrar, Louise Homer, Olive Fremstad, Bidu Sayao, Kirsten Flagstad and Lily Pons.

I was asked to stop photographing, and I had to take my seat, so I will have to go back again to try to match up who wore what, when. Until then, please enjoy these colorful lovelies. They look quite delicate for stage jewelry compared to what we would fabricate today. I'm especially fond of the cuffs and the feather-like brooch!

These may be the cuffs worn in the picture below - Lily Pons as Lakme. It's a little hard to tell.

These portraits are amazing, aren't they? 

Olive Fremstad

Louise Homer, who must be dressed as Amneris in Verdi's Aida

Bidu Sayao as Massenet's Manon

Geraldine Farrar as Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhauser

Kirsten Flagstad as Elsa in Wagner's Lohengrin

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Long Time No See

It's been a while since I have properly blogged, other than posting the occasional photo of something I was recently working on in the studio. I hope that 2013 has started out well for everyone, and it's hard to believe that we are almost 1/4 of the way through the new year. It's still winter here and we had snow today, which pleases me as I love the colder weather, even if I have to put up with colds the way I have since December and my trip to....

......London, closing down my shops at the peak of holiday time, but it was well worth it! I hadn't been overseas since 2003 and 10 years was long enough, and I will share some of my travels with you.

Costume/Wig Emporium in the West End (look at the clock)

First, though, after almost a year of classes in metalsmithing and now wax carving, I am able to dream of making pieces that I hope to realize - complicated pieces that are a bit out of reach just now. I finally found a way to use the many cabochons and buttons that I've collected over the years that don't involve wrapping them in filigree, which I have been tiring of. I've been thinking about the work I've done over the last seven years and am re-imagining what it is I want to say with my pieces. Right now I'm keeping things simple, but I won't be satisfied with that for long, although the learning process takes time, and I don't have a studio for serious metalwork at home. I try to design and prepare components ahead of my work time at the studio where I take class, which is a great place to work, if noisy.

This is a piece that I struggled with - an ambitious (for me) multi-bezel bracelet. I made the 10 mm bezels to fit some lovely labradorite and olivine stones. The links and every component had to be soldered together before the stones were set in, and I ruined a clasp by overheating the first time. It took so much time that I decided to keep it after all. Olivine is a harder stone than labradorite, and one labradorite cab was destroyed when its natural occlusions couldn't take the setting process. I polished and oxidized the bracelet afterward, to the dismay of my teacher, who prefers the shiny silver finish.

Just because I love the blue flash, here's a closer pic of one of the labradorite stones!


Here's a sterling silver ring that I recently finished: A large serpentine scarab, nicely detailed and chunky in a pretty, fresh green. 

You can see the ring base just out of the pickle, before polishing.

I really like the very wide, solid ring wire that was needed to accommodate the size of the scarab.

I originally thought of making an irregular setting with hammered lines, but in the end decided to keep the setting simple.

Here's the finished ring, waiting to be listed in my Etsy shop. 

More later! Have a great weekend. :)