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Posts Tagged ‘vintage’

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Photo: Des Moines Register
Michael Zahs, a retired history teacher, saved rare films that date to 1895 and became the subject of the 2017 documentary “Saving Brinton.” 

Did you ever read Hitty, Her First Hundred Years as a child? It’s about a doll who, through various adventures, ends up in the hands of a series of families in the course of a century. It suggests that old treasures bring joy again and again in new circumstances.

It would be lovely to find some rare, lost thing and give it new life. I know that readers like KerryCan and Deb do that all the time. In fact, Deb recently blogged about rescuing smelly old fabrics from oblivion to make a quilt. She likes to think about the former life of each piece as she works.

Suzanne, meanwhile, has been having enormous fun finding and cleaning up vintage lockets, offering resizing and placement of the customer’s family photos to give the lockets meaning for another generation.

Here’s a story about finding old silent film footage in an Iowa barn by Pamela Hutchinson at the Guardian. “Michael Zahs thinks of himself as a saver. ‘I like to save things,’ he says, ‘especially if it looks like they’re too far gone.’ This retired history teacher from Iowa, now in his 70s, has amassed quite a collection over the years: stray animals, farm implements, even a church steeple. …

“Nothing he has saved, however, has been quite as remarkable as the Brinton Collection – a mammoth set of films, lantern slides, posters and projection equipment from the first years of cinema, and even earlier. There are two exciting things about these artifacts. One is that during the more than three decades after Zahs took delivery of the collection and stored it on his property, he has been showing its treasures to local people and keeping the tradition of the travelling showman alive. The second is the discovery that the collection contains very rare material – films by the French cinema pioneer, George Méliès [remember the 2011 movie about his work, Hugo?] that were once thought to be lost.

Saving Brinton, an absorbing new documentary by Andrew Sherburne and Tommy Haines, tells the story of Zahs and the collection he saved. Between 1895 and 1909,one Frank Brinton crossed the Midwest with his wife Indiana and his travelling show, welcoming locals for a ticket price of just a few cents.

“At first he showed magic lantern slides, some of which ‘dissolved’ between two static images to create an illusion of movement. When moving pictures arrived, Brinton jumped aboard, ordering many films from distributors in France, one of the most prolific and creative producers in the early period. …

“Brinton’s programme included trick films such as those by Méliès, which used in-camera special effects to create fantastical spectacles, and many hand-coloured movies where the dye is applied directly to each frame. Projected in the dark, these vivid, bizarre images have lost none of their original impact.

“Everything the Brintons used was passed down through the family until 1981, when it arrived at Zahs’ front door. He packed all the ephemera away into what he calls his ‘Brinton room,’ while the films themselves were sent to the Library of Congress, which duplicated about two-thirds of them, quickly and simply, and sent the 16mm copies back to Zahs. The remaining third they apparently sent back to Zahs through the US mail, in a box labelled ‘explosive.’ Those original nitrate films, which are highly flammable, were stored alongside the 16mm films in a shed. It’s amazing that they survived.

“The 16mm copies were safe to project, and so Zahs did. He started the Brinton film festival in Ainsworth, Iowa (population: about 600), where he would show the slides and the films to audiences that might never otherwise have dreamed of watching a silent film projection.

“It is typical of Zahs’ commitment to not just preserving but sharing history, says Sherburne. ‘That’s how he engages people, by giving them the genuine article, putting it in their hands, or putting it in front of their eyes. It’s his way of transporting them to a different time.’ ”

Read more at the Guardian, here. And do tell me a vintage story of your own.

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LunaAndStellaLockets

Suzanne’s lockets were featured in the Boston Globe last week, and I wanted to tell you about that — and the lockets — in time for Valentine’s Day.

Longtime readers know this blog has a connection to Luna & Stella, Suzanne’s jewelry company. It’s easy to forget that, as she was willing from Day One to let me write about whatever interested me, and I’m interested in an awful lot of things in addition to jewelry.

The antique and vintage lockets are a fairly new addition to Suzanne’s offerings, and they have been a pretty big hit. Although Suzanne acquires them from all over, many, if not most, originated in the greater Providence area, once known as the jewelry capital of the world. Some of the lockets have the original photos in them, but Suzanne will size your photos to fit if you like.

Among the more fascinating aspects of the lockets, in my opinion, are the handmade hinges, which are practically invisible. Hinges made today tend to be clunky and stick out. Suzanne went through a long search to see if anyone could make hinges the old way and even looked into buying some antique machinery, but in the end, attending flea markets and working with vintage dealers meant she could sell the lockets for a more reasonable price.

You can see lockets here, some in Valentine shapes. And the website also has chains and birthstone charms to pair with a locket — Luna & Stella‘s trademark stars, moons, suns, hearts, and more.

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Did you ever see a finer dishtowel? The blogger KerryCan wove it for me after I won a drawing at “Love Those Hands at Home,” her site. I cherish it.

This is how it came about. Back in October, KerryCan asked readers, many of whom are experienced artisans, whether they were more process-oriented or product-oriented. She had recently decided that what she herself loved most about her creative endeavors — which include quilting, weaving, chocolate making, and collecting vintage linens for her Etsy shop — was the process. I said the same about my past jobs working on magazines.

She put all commenters into a drawing for a handwoven dishtowel that she would make to the winner’s color specifications.

Now, KerryCan is a person who regularly makes thoughtful comments on other people’s blogs, so she attracts an impressive number of thoughtful commenters herself. I encourage you to read their responses to the process/product challenge, here.

Another fun KerryCan post asks readers if they are get-it-done Focusers or Flitterers, as she claims to be. She seems wistful that Flitterers like herself, who like to have numerous projects going at once, don’t get to check much off their lists. But I think people should embrace their own style.

I myself am probably more of a Time Waster than a Focuser or Flitterer — except on days when I schedule myself up. But then, some of the people whose creative output I admire most have been notorious Time Wasters, so maybe something of value is going on beneath the surface.

I hope you will check out “Love Those Hands at Home” — maybe even answer the latest challenge. You will be in the company of people who really think about things.

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Imagine how chuffed I was to see this article about Suzanne by Charmaine Gahan!

A close friend since kindergarten, Charmaine has been a huge support to Suzanne and the birthstone-jewelry company that hosts this blog, Luna & Stella.

In a delightful report, Charmaine describes how her whole family joined Suzanne’s family in New York City over school vacation to lend a hand at the Playtime trade show, a big deal for promoting new products to retail shops around the world.

Among the highlights of Suzanne’s growing collections are sweet Mama + Me bracelets, just in time for Mothers Day (May 8), and some stunning vintage lockets.

Notes the website, “All of the lockets in the Luna & Stella Vintage Collection were made in Providence, East Providence or Attleboro between 1880 and 1940.”

Why vintage mixed with contemporary? That’s kind of an interesting story, too, being the result of a hunt for beautiful hinges to use in new lockets. After the long search, Suzanne concluded that they just don’t make smooth and subtle hinges like they used to.

But sometimes an apparent dead end can lead to even better ideas, and Luna & Stella’s cool mixing of old and new seems to be an idea that is catching on.

At the Concord Journal (here), you can read more about the two friends and their families working the trade show in New York during the coldest week of the year.

Photo: Charmaine’s girls join Suzanne to look over the Mama + Me collection from Luna & Stella.

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Art: Maggie Stern
“Fish for Supper”

Concord Art has mounted a juried show of member works. I have been twice this week. It’s accessible and stimulating.

When you first enter, you hear a strange clattering and turn to see a beat-up old medicine cabinet with vintage pill bottles inside that are rattling around like ghosts. Very amusing.

My former boss, Meredith Fife Day, had two lovely country scenes in acrylic from her travels in Ireland, and she was the one who reminded me to see the show.

I took a photo of Maggie Stern’s playful “Fish for Supper,” above. Stern says, “What I love most about art is that you get to make up the rules.” I Googled her and found that she has connections with the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass., and has excelled in a variety of artistic realms, including illustrating children’s books and making kits for crafty folks to reproduce her original stitchery.

I was also drawn to Lorraine Sullivan’s use of vintage linens. There must be something in the air about vintage. I’ve been doing a little prospecting (along with Erik’s mother) to add to Suzanne’s new vintage locket collection at Luna & Stella, and have learned that the idea of mixing vintage with contemporary birthstone jewelry is quite popular.

In fact, all sorts of vintage items are being cherished now, to the point that it was not only wonderful but a bit painful to see how Sullivan used her seamstress grandmother’s handiwork in the piece below. Creative destruction. Happy-sad.

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If you are a consumer these days, after Black Friday comes Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. I do love Giving Tuesday as there are so many worthy causes to choose from, and you don’t have to go farther than your computer to donate. This year I am torn between a food bank I admire and my favorite refugee nonprofit, although I do love the Granola Project. Maybe I will do something for all three.

But tomorrow is Saturday, and I am headed down to Providence to help Erik with the kids while Suzanne has a Luna & Stella birthstone-jewelry trunk show at Talulah Cooper Boutique on Traverse St, just off Wickenden (12 pm to 5 pm).

While we are on the subject of Luna & Stella (the parent of this blog) you should know that now through Cyber Monday (November 30, 2015) only, you can get 40% off all earrings, plus $20 off orders over $100 anywhere on the website — with code SHOPSMALL.

This season, Suzanne is into mixing her jewelry with some vintage lockets she has found. The ones in the picture are all from the Greater Providence area, long known for jewelry making.

Photo below: Rhode Island Foundation
A Luna & Stella trunk show pictured in a profile at “Our Backyard,” which features Rhode Island people and businesses, here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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