Monday, 16 June 2014

Why Mourn When is it FINALLY Summer Weather!

Hi Everyone!

The weather has been first rate lately.  I finally planted my garden and now I'm working on the lawn. I will probably need a tractor mower to get through the  thick grass.  My push mower has finally decided this is the LAST summer it's working.  The frame finally rusted and now the cut grass shoots out the top like some green confetti party popper

I have some new summer neighbours.  This family is currently occupying  a cozy little spot by my pond, where their young children swim daily, have picnics on  the bank and sun themselves.  It is so nice when you can get the kids away from the electronics and have some family time.  They grow up so fast! 




INTERESTING PROJECT
Victorian Era Mourning Brooch




I have to say, I get the most interesting projects! My customer wanted to frame this jet carved mourning brooch.


Victorians felt that wearing ornate jewelry while one was in mourning was distasteful.  Instead it became customary to wear simple black mourning jewelry  made from many unusual materials such as gutta percha, vulcanite and jet.    Jewelry such as the example above became de rigueur to wear when Queen Victoria went into mourning  in December 1861 for Prince Albert. Queen Victoria proclaimed that she would only wear 'widow's weeds"  for the rest of her life. There was such a level of public sympathy, that most of the middle class followed her into mourning, not only for Prince Albert who died in December 1861, but for their own deceased loved ones.  This public devotion to their queen instigated Victorian textile manufacturers  to go into overdrive making vast amount of black dyed items. As well mourning jewelry  production increased especially  by the already popular and well established Whitby Jet Company.
 

Shale Jet Line
A distinctive shale or 'Jet line' on the cliff face. Photo courtesy of W. Hamond. Jetline

Largest Jet
W.  Hamond employees recreate a bygone era as they hold part of the World’s largest Whitby Jet gemstone. Photo courtesy of W. Hamond. Holding the large piece of jet

 
Jet is a lightweight, fragile fossilized black wood from ancient and extinct trees that lends itself to very detailed carvings.  Most jet washed up on shore, with the majority of quantities on the shores of Whitby, North Yorkshire.   Jet is the most collectable of all the varieties today, but because it is fragility and not many pieces  survived over the years except for  pieces like earrings, brooches, necklace beads and cameos.

The dark arts: Prince Albert's death in 1861 sparked a booming trade for jet jewellery, made in workshops such as this one in Whitby, North Yorkshire
Workers in a shop in Whitby, North Yorkshire carving jet from the shores where layers of shale were a source of fossils and fossilize wood. Workers in Whitby Jet shop



The  Whitby mourning brooch, that I had the pleasure of framing, had an un-bloomed rose carved onto it, symbolizing  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's 'love that didn't have a chance to bloom into fruition'.

My customer had a handmade frame he wanted to use (top frame). Unfortunately,  the frame was too shallow to accommodate the height of the brooch.  I commissioned a carpenter to construct an addition  frame (bottom frame) and then the two pieces were merged  together.  I cut an oval, red suede mat as a background colour, carefully attached the brooch and finished the piece. I am happy to report that customer was pleased and now has it in a  place of honor in his collection of antiques.




And for last...
Here are some photos from the last few weeks of May and early June.

These ponies were very happy to see the summer pasture but  in different ways.  One expressed his joy by running and leaping. The other  preferred to just  get down to business.

 



This kitty prefers  fresh running water. Now, if I could only get her to turn the tap off when she was done!


 My neighbour brought me some of her beautiful deep red tulips.


And from the garden...


Cheers and wishing everyone warm summer days...they don't last long!

Talk to you soon!

Claire

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A Matter of Tastes Website

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About the Business

The business, started in 2000, is located on a beautiful farmland property just outside Antigonish. It is just a short drive to see me and well worth the scenic drive. First and foremost, I offer professional custom framing, with over 10 years in the framing business. I am also intaglio printer, so you can rely on my 20 years of experience and advise on original hand pulled prints. The framing shop has a small art gallery that deals in original hand pulled prints and paintings as well as unique artistic works by myself and my featured artist, V.L. Maclean http://www.vlmaclean.ca As an amateur photographer, I have many pictures of florals, landscapes and nature scenes on display and for sale. My favourite subjects are florals, nature and animals- (horses, dogs and kitties). I have a very relaxed setting and welcome everyone to visit and have a look around. It is ‘all a matter of tastes.” For more information: www.amatteroftastes.ca