Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sparkle Studio Hair Sticks

I have made a small collection of hairsticks for the upcoming Sparkle Studio site. In Hawai'i, the use of hairsticks is very popular, a veritable staple for anyone with hair long enough to wrap in a bun. The heat and high humidity necessitates getting one's hair off the neck.

Both Chinese and Japanese cultures incorporated the use of hairsticks as ceremonial and costume decoration, and their use of dangling embellishments influenced me as i strung beads, rhinestones and sequins from the ends of mine to create fun and colorful combinations for any time of the day or night. I combined various Japanese lacquered chopsticks with glass pearls and beads, handcut leather flowers, interlocking elements strung on wires and secured them so that they can be used as just a single or crisscrossed to secure a bun to the back of the head and adding a bit of sparkle!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Pearl Carpet of Baroda

I realized I had not made mention in any of my blog posts the Pearl Carpet of Baroda, which sold in a Sotheby's auction in March of 2009, and which I must say is one of the most incredible handmade objects I have ever seen. This carpet was made in 1865 for the Maharajah of the Indian province of Baroda, and measures 5' 8" by 8' 8". From afar and at first glance, one would think that it looks like an elaborately woven carpet with an intricately designed floral motif. But upon closer inspection it slowly becomes very apparent that the designs are comprised not of multicolored yarns, but in fact this carpet is completely covered in precious and semi-precious stones.

According to the Sotheby's listing for the carpet, a mind boggling estimate of 1.5 million natural pearls were strung and incorporated into its design. Accenting the pearls are diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires & multicolored glass beads.

The Pearl Carpet of Baroda is truly a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship, and extravagant beyond belief. It is on the surface modest in size, but this decadent display of a Maharajah's wealth could very well be hard to match. In March of 2009 it surpassed the estimated price and sold at auction for 5.5 million dollars. wow.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sparkle Studio Flower Pins Made With Antique Fabrics

This is a small selection from the first phase of flower "corsage" pins made from vintage textiles that will be available on Sparkle Studio very soon. Each measures approximately 5 inches in diameter and has a pin and clasp backing so that it can be fixed to accessorize a jacket or handbag. Pieces are cut from remnants of silk, cotton or leather and include elements of costume jewelry, rhinestones, buttons, etc. Also available will be care instructions on how to keep their shape over time so that they can be enjoyed over and over again. First is an evening flower made from gold metallic leather, with a vintage earring set into its center.

I leave the petal edges of the silk flowers frayed on purpose, trimming them down should any get too long. The full shape of the fabric flowers that we will have for sale can easily be kept up. Simply have on hand a can of store bought fabric starch, lightly misting the petals until they are damp. I then gather up the petals as if the flower is still closed, and wrap a rubber band around the damp petals to sit overnight. The next day simply remove the rubber band and shape the flower in a full shape while the petals are stiff yet possibly still damp.

Here I used antique velvet pieces to construct this rose, and I beaded the center with pink seed beads.

Below are two pins that are both made with vintage Fortuny fabrics, and both incorporate vintage jewelry elements in their centers.