Myrna Loy, Judy Garland, Maureen O'Hara, and Katharine Hepburn (especially with Spencer Tracy) were my favorite classic movie stars growing up. I watched all of them, and more, on The Family Film Festival hosted by Tom Hatten on KTLA in Los Angeles. It was a staple of our Saturday afternoon TV. I watched the Topper movies (Myrna), all the "Road" movies with Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour and Bing Crosby, The Black Swan and Parent Trap (Maureen), The Little Rascals, Adam's Rib (Katharine) and dozens of musicals with Judy Garland. Classic movies served up with interesting commentary from Tom. We followed up the weekend movie fest with Star Trek reruns, but that's another post.
Fast forward to the 2010's and my gifted friend Kate Wagle Hitmar came up with these fabulous recognizable faces to display jewelry in a local art gallery Koolkat Designs, now The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh. Originally, she created them for an Academy Awards event in the story and they stayed. The photo above is from those days at Koolkat with a custom designs2c Swarovski beaded earring.
Recently, I'd been looking for some creative ways to display jewelry on Social Media, on my website and in my Etsy shop. Last month I messaged Katy about her iconic women in film. She had the original lineup and was agreeable to creating a few more. I wanted a range, acknowledging the diversity of who we are. She suggested one that I wasn't too crazy about. It might shock you, but I am not now, nor ever have been, a fan of Sophia Loren. I don't know why. Shrug. Yet, when Katy suggested Ertha Kitt, I was super excited. Batman was another Saturday rerun staple in our house and no one was a better Catwoman.
To make the displays I printed and mounted the pixelated picture on used cereal boxes. Then I cut around the head and shoulders. Putting on the jewelry for pictures felt a bit like paper dolls.
Keep an eye open for more icons of film. Katy is still working on one of my Latina sisters that had me very excited. Who are some of your favorites?
I know how to sew on a button. I can even stitch a buttonhole. In 12 years of making jewelry, I never imagined I'd be using buttons in my work.
The idea came during my Czech bead tour in 2019. (You can read more about that here.) When Keith said that our next stop was going to be an antique shop I got excited. The shop was more American Pickers than antique. What in the world could I find in a place like this?
Combing through the dirty, packed shelves, I discovered these disks with an odd hole on the back. At first I thought the disks were designed to accommodate a pin for post earrings. It was instead, Keith explained, to accommodate the shank for a button.
The glass button industry in Jablonec dates from the 1820s. Sadly, it is a dying art. Modern clothes are designed for ease and comfort. Buttons don’t lend themselves to that, and Czech beads are of a high quality and so more expensive. Today just two brothers in their 70s make Czech buttons. When they are gone.... It makes me more determined to find new ways to use these beautiful works of art.
I brought these two types of buttons back and gave wrapping them shot. I’m pleased with the results. Because these are solid colors and have simple faceted too, I hand more options when choosing the seed beads to weave around them. The netting stitch that I uses opens as it encloses the beads, for unexpected flashes of colors as the earring moves with you.
The "new" button earrings are from one of my go to suppliers of all things Czech, Nirvana Beads. They carry a range of Czech buttons. Last month I just realized that they have some buttons without the shank. Perfect for wrapping. The patterns of the new buttons are very Art Nouveau and their colors are stunning. Because they have straight sides, for the most part, they stitch a little differently from the buttons that I found "picking" in the Czech Republic. For me, that is part of the charm and unique quality of handmade.