Going a bit Gothic …..

As the days shorten the weather here in Yorkshire gets a bit gothic, especially as halloween draws near and I’ve got to say I do love it!

We’ve always had a soft spot for all things dark and brooding and that comes across clearly in what we create and produce, so we decided that to celebrate Halloween we’d gather all our gothic inspired creations in one department in the store, so here’s a selection from our BRAND NEW Gothic Gifts, Art & Jewellery Section.

I hope you enjoy our Halloween inspired gothic offerings, they are eco-friendly and if you’d like to read more about celebrating an eco-friendly Halloween, then check out this blog piece.

Thanks & have a great Halloween

Sarah X

P.S. This blog contains some affiliate links and if you click on them and purchse, we recieve a (very) small commission, which helps support the blog and pay our bills. So, thank you for your support!

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Art Deco – it was a brave new look for a brave new world. As I sit here in summer 2022 embracing our ‘new normal’ and bracing myself for ‘The Roaring Twenties – The Re-do’, I’m instantly inspired to look back to the original and the design movement that redefined everything, from dinner plates to dancing frocks and back again. 1920s swept in the Art Deco design movment and in an instant it swept away all the tradition that had gone before and by crikey was everybody ready. After years of war, truma and loss followed by the Flu pandemic of 1918 the world needed a brake – enough was enough, so many had lost their lives and youths to the war and the flu and now they were going to live a little…..

Art Deco was THE thing that changed every thing. I always find the name a little strange: Arts Decoratif, to give it’s full title. It came out of France and means Decorative Arts and yet it is less decorative and fussy than it’s predecesor Art Nouveau (meaning New Arts).

Anyway, along came Art Deco and changed the world. It represented an un-fussy, elegant, sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate style. Featuring geometric shapes and stong lines it has a purity and simplicity which tells of it’s practicallity. It can be even be argued that it also had a role in the Rights of Women movement. Art Deco design removed the focus of the creation of a domestic enviroment from a purely female role and resposibility and made it much more gender neutral. Art Deco clothing design was a massive departure from the restrictive and inconvenient dress of the preceding eras, it clearly resulted in much more practical clothing styles for women, meaning thay could take part in many activities with increased freedom of movement – no small progress!

And it was fun! As the designs was simplified the materials and finishes became much more important and luxe. If you were able to go dancing, you could wear a flapper dress and dance the Charleston (and who doesn’t love THAT!)

And, even if you had a family to look after and your flapper days were behind you, Art deco could still bring a hint of modern glamour into your world, in the form of a Clarice Cliff or Suzie Copper teaset!

Art Deco Clarice Cliff tea set

The Art Deco design movement was so highly influential on our lives that it is still impacting us today and I love the beauty and purity of it!

You can easily add a a sprinkle of Art Deco style to your home or wardrobe. Here’s a couple of high style Art Deco ideas!

I often use genuine Art Deco beads dating from the 1920s & 1930s to create reclrecaimed and recycled vintage bead earrings for my eco-friendly range of jewellery, so if you’re an Art Deco fan then come and take a look at my Art Deco earring collection

All in all, the Art Deco movment represented a huge leap forward in our lives, it transitioned us from traditional to modern and we’re still feeling those changes today! The design influence of the Art Deco movement has been so far reaching and impactful. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into the Art Deco world…

Thanks & have a lovely day

Sarah x

PS: This blog contains affiliate some links, so if you purchase through them we get a (very) small comission which helps support the blog and pay our bills, so thank you for your support!

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Check Out Our New Jane Austen x Graffiti Range!

So, along with my love of the Bronte Sisters, i’m also a massive fan of Jane Austen and her work. It took me a few reads to get beyond the constraints of the language and hear her voice. Cricky what a voice – she’s very sharp and really, really funny. That lady really did have and eye for humanity and all it’s foolishness and quirks! Her words really inspire me and I’ve been feeling creative, so I decided to meld her amazing ideas with an art movement that, in my opinion, really represents just how creative, subversive and progressive she was. Welcome to our new Jane Austen X Graffiti range…..

I hope you enjoy the new Jane Austen X Graffiti gifts and clothing range and if you’re looking for a good read do check out Jane Austen’s books!

Have a great week & thanks for reading!

Sarah x

P.S. This blog contains some affiliate links and if you click on them and purchse, we recieve a (very) small commission, which helps support the blog and pay our bills. So, thank you for your support!

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Summer Eco-Gifts & Clothes

Ahh here in Yorkshire the sun has finally shown it face! So I wanted to share our latest summer collection of eco-friendly gifts and t-shirts. We’ve got eco-friendly organic cotton Japanese inspired t-shirt & sweatshirt featuring the artwork of Johnnyinthe56, handmade earrings by Revive Vintage crafted with vintage 1980’s reclaimed beads, a set of 3 hand-printed lino print cards featuring the Mushroom Girl design by Gray and finally a really pretty handmade Lavender bag crafted from reclaimed vintage 1930’s embroidered cotton and more items are on their way!.

I hope you enjoy our eco-friendly creations, thanks for taking a look!

Have a great week!

Sarah X

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The Bronte Sisters Mourning Jewellery

A lovely client has just ordered a pair of beautiful hand carved Victorian Whitby jet bead earrings from me. Whilst she was placing the order we got chatting about mourning jewellery and she very kindly recommended a couple of books and a film that had inspired her love of mourning jewellery. Whilst I’m not a collector, I’ve always been facinated by mourning jewellery and quite recently two pieces of mourning jewellery belonging to the Bronte sisters have turned up. So, off I went down an inspirational rabbit hole – lets take a closer look at mourning jewellery and specifically that owned by the Bronte Sisters.

We tend to view mourning jewellery as a very Victorian concept, as it reached it’s peack of popularity and fashion following the death of Prince Albert. On the death of her husband, Queen Victoria threw herself bodily into the act of mourning and created a an instant and veritable fever around mourning jewellery and specifically Whitby Jet mourning jewellery. It became so popular that demand for Whitby Jet mourning jewellery outstripped supply. The clever French glass artisans saw a gap in the market and came up with a cheaper alternative that could be mass-produced. Known as French Jet or Parisian Jet it is in fact Black glass. If you’re intrested in Whitby Jet and it’s substitutes, please check out my blog piece on it or indeed the lovely earrings I make from reclaimed antique and vintage Jet beads.

Despite the Victorians popularising mourning jewellery and taking it to the mass market, it had already been around since, at least the middle ages. It had also been very popular amoungst those who could afford it during the Regency era. On her death in 1817, Jane Austen’s Sister Cassandra had a mourning brooch made from locks of Jane’s hair.

Prior to the Regency period, hair jewellery was not popular, as there was concern that the hair in the jewellery would not be the loved one’s but that belonging to a stranger, as it might have been swapped. A concern that had mostly dissapeared by the time of the Regency and Victorian eras. Hair workers were highly skilled and sought after. Their work was often very intricate and delicate.

Whilst mourning jewellery and specifically hair jewellery feels very gothic and slightly macarbre, in our modern world, it was clearly a very loving and personal way of creating a memorial to a lost loved one. Without photgraphs and with the cost and inaccuracies of hand-painted portraits, it is easy to see how a piece of hair jewellery would provide a lasting and very personal way of keeping loved ones close, even after death. You could wear hair jewellery in plain sight of conceal it under layers of clothing, carrying an actual piece of your loved one with you, wherever you went. Mortality rates were very high during these periods and most people lost children, spouses, friends and loved ones and with death being such a constant presence, it’s not suprising that people took comfort by memorialising their dear departeds in such a manner.

The Bronte Sisters were no strangers to death. Their home in Haworth overlooked the graveyard and their father conducted funeral after funeral as typhus, cholera and consumption raged through the town. They lost their mother whilst still children and then also their two eldest sisters died in childhood. Their brother; Branwell died as a young adult, shortly to be followed by Emily and then Anne, and Charlotte died just months after her marriage. Consequently, it’s no suprise that there are several pieces of mourning jewellery belonging to and memorialising the Bronte sisters.

Most recently, a small ring was discovered in an attic, it was engraved with Charlotte Bronte’s details and is believed to have been given to her lifelong friend; Ellen Nussey on Charlotte’s death. The ring features a small hinged panel which opens to reaveal a plaited lock of Charlotte’s hair.

Engrave mourning ring containing Charlotte Bronte’s hair.

There is also this very famous and beautful Amethyst bracelet made from plaited strands of Emily and Anne’s hair.

Charlotte Bronte’s bracelet – she had it made from the plaited locks of her sisters Emily & Anne’s hair after their deaths.

The Bronte Parsonage hold a collection of jewellery and it contatins two rings that hold Emily’s hair and Emily and Anne’s plaited hair. The mourning rings are top right and bottom left in the picture and the one on the top right has a panel that opens to reveal the hair.

There is also a necklace made from Emily’s hair and two bracelets simply fashioned from hair, one belonging to Anne and one belonging to Charlotte.

A piece of mourning jewellery belonging to Charlotte Bronte. A necklace made from Emily’s hair.

The Bronte Parsonage & Bronte Society also have a Jet bangle that belonged to Anne and indeed it was noted as a piece of evidence that the Landseer Portrait was of the three Bronte sisters. In it ‘Anne’ is wearing a Jet bangle with a bow fastening very similar to that which she owned.

The portrait by Landeseer that is believed to be the Bronte Sisters.

To close I must say that I totally understand the comfort that mourning jewellery gave it’s wearers and it may even prove useful in detecting ‘lost’ portraits. However, the rumor that Charlotte mended her mourning shoes with Anne & Emily’s hair is nonsense. It as a mistake in the reading of an exhibit label that was then tweeted around the world!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little look at the Bronte Sisters mourning jewellery.

Thanks for reading & have a lovely day!

Sarah x

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