Friday, October 31, 2014

Annual Holiday Open House Saturday November 8th

Come join us for 
Vintages' Annual Holiday Open House
on Saturday November 8th (10am to 6pm).

Refreshments, prizes, special pricing!

Our complete Holiday collection of 
gifts, cards and decorations will be available.
Hope to see you there. 

Vintage Micromosaic Jewelry

Micromosaic Bracelet c1920
Micromosaics are an intriguing art form. I could not imagine handling these tiny blown glass pieces ... called tessarae ... and transforming them into an interesting image. The technique has been practiced since Byzantine times and was popularized by the Romans. The height of popularity was during the time of the Grand Tours ... when members of rich European (and later American) families would travel around Europe, taking in the sights and cultures of different countries. Italy was a very popular travel location for these rich tourists where they could immerse themselves in the long and prestigious history of Italian and Roman arts and culture. Italian craftsmen quickly turned their already renowned glass making skills to making stunning miniature micromosaic pictures for their rich visitors.
Detail of of a Link from a Micromosaic Bracelet c1920
Victorian micromosaics were very intricate and generally featured architectural scenes or famous people. By the 20th century, the focus of the designs became flowers and geometric patterns. Early examples have minute tessarae, so small and flat that the image looked like a painting. As time went by, the mosaics became less detailed, even a bit crude in appearance. Early 1900s pieces also featured embedded wires and tiles set at varying heights, giving a three-dimensional effect.

The tourist of today can still find micromosaics in Italy ... however truly fine contemporary examples are rare.

Detail of a Pietra Dura Brooch c1890
Another form of mosaics that has been around for centuries is called pietra dura ... basically images made using stone inlaid mosaics that are finely cut and polished flat. While the technique has been applied for a long time in "paintings" and furniture, the use of pietra dura in jewelry is as old as the use of micromosaics. 

We have a very nice selection of late 19th- and early-20th century micromosaics ... and a couple of pietra dura examples as well. These are available online or in our Los Gatos shop. Typical pricing ranges from $39 for mid-century pieces, to $95 for early examples.

Micromosaic Jewelry
Selection of Brooches L to R: Crescent Micromosaic c1900; Pietra Dura c1890; Combination Micromosaic and Pietra Dura c1890.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Halloween is on its Way ... Be Prepared!

Black Scraggly Halloween Trees (from $27.95) with an Array of Ornaments (from $6.95)
We just loved Halloween when we were kids. For me it wasn't getting dressed up in weird costumes ... never cared for dressing up. It was the carousing and the candy ... what else?

Large Spider ($13.95) and Spider Web ($19.95)
Today the decorations are just as much fun as the many giddy kids who come out trick-or-teating dressed up in everything from store-bought costumes to creative masterpieces worthy of Hollywood ... and to the teenagers who just carouse and have fun!

Jack-O-Lantern Fence ($39.95)
As usual, Vintages has a fine array of scary and cute decorative goodies for you. Get 'em while you can.
YIKES! These Frightened Dolls just $94.95 each
Jack-O-Lanterns ($16.95)
Handcrafted Wooden Skeleton ($89.95) with Jack the Puppet ($38.95)
BOO! Boxes ($4.95 any size)
Witches ($29.95 each)

Skully and Jack ($24.95 each)
Spooky the Crow ($69.95)
Great selection of Holiday Ribbons and Trims
Halloween Magnets
Handmade Magnet Boards ($84.95) and Crow Magnet Sets in Black or Gray ($20.95 set)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Family History ... More than just a Family Tree

I am a history buff. Really! Even in high school, I liked to study history. Learning from events and ideas from bygone days is critical to avoiding future mistakes and understanding trends. At least that is how I see it!

A couple of years ago I started taking this interest in history a step further. I wanted to meet my ancestors, learn what they did and why they did it. I knew that they came from the old countries 130 years ago ... but why? With a little help from cousins and a nephew, I began to create our family tree ... loaded it with facts and photos ... but that was not enough. I started writing a family history. Two years later, it is a living document and it is taking shape. I have learned so much about family as far back as 180 years ago. Pretty cool.

In searching out ephemera ... photos, old documents, antiquarian books ... I have started to dig into the people behind these pieces of paper. In a few cases I have been able to re-connect families with some of their lost history. That's fun.

Writing family history is more than just building the family tree ... more than just adding photos and birth certificates. It is a lot like writing a story, so I have researched not only families, but the work of other family historians to learn how they cope ... how they organize and preserve their archives ... how they write!

This blog (Maybe someone should write that down ... Writerly ways for family historians and storytellers) has been quite helpful ... and funny as well. If you are interested in family history, you need to check this out. One especially constructive post is "6 Things Every Writer Needs." Mom (the pseudonym of the blogger Kassie Ritman) gives a list she lives by and it is right on.

Let me know about your family history adventures.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Compliments from a Creative Artist

Recently Suze Weinberg dropped into Vintages with local friend Wendy Aikin. It is always a treat when such gifted artists visit us at Vintages. Suze, who has been  a creative force in the craft industry for many years, gave Vintages a wonderful write-up on her SuzeBlogz site. THANKS! If you have not visited her blog, you should. She rambles through so many shops, studios and museums with just gobs of inspiration ... and her enthusiasm and eye for the unique in so many things is contagious!

Wendy Aikin is one of the most creative mixed media artists I have met. Her assemblages are imaginative and yet highly structured. Take a look.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beautiful Sterling Silver Flatware Photo by Kent Avenue Photography

Tara Cronin of Kent Avenue Photography shot this gorgeous photograph of one of our silver dessert forks. Her photography studio is near us in Campbell. Tara's Facebook page sums up her approach: Lifestyle portraiture with a fine art approach to capturing natural light, layered color and pure emotion! Currently based in the Bay Area and seasonally in beautiful New England. Couldn't agree more.

Eat Cake for Breakfast ... why not?

Wild Rose Pattern by International Silver

She borrowed the fork from a beautiful set of sterling silver with a lovely rose pattern. The pattern is Wild Rose and was introduced in 1948 by International Silver. It is as fresh and elegant today as it was over sixty years ago.

Thank you Tara for making our elegant antique silver service look absolutely yummy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Visiting New England

We seem to be drawn to New England ... Maine in particular. We just got back and thought I would share some of the places we enjoyed. It was a bit early for fall colors, but it wasn't cold either! In fact, the temps were in the 70s and 80s for the whole trip.

We started at Brimfield, where we spent a few days at the Brimfield antique market. This is a BIG market ... or actually a grouping of a dozen or so markets. The booths this year seemed to be dominated by Americana, architectural salvage and primitives ... things we could not bring back with us on the plane. But we found our share of treasures.

The next stop was a weekend in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. It was our first visit and we found it delightful. The towns are really small villages, with no more than a few streets. The area is known for its farm to table cuisine and numerous good, small restaurants.

We stayed at the Inn at Stockbridge, which is a wonderful inn with comfortable accommodations, excellent breakfasts and a very friendly staff.

The Inn at Stockbridge
This is the "Barn" where we stayed
The Mount is close by in Lenox. It is the home of Edith Wharton, Pulitzer prize winning author of Ethan Frome and Age of Innocence, among others. The house was closed the day we went (for a wedding) so we sauntered about on the estate grounds which are beautifully landscaped with formal gardens and sculptures.

The Gardens at The Mount
View of The Mount
"Condominium" Sculpture
Fruits of Fancy 2, by Philip Marshall

A fun side trip was a short 30 minutes north to Williamstown for a visit at Cricket Creek Farm. This is a real farm! They have a small herd of cows and make some wonderful cow's milk cheeses. They also sell meat from the pigs they raise. A real glimpse of America's farm roots.

Cricket Creek Farm
The Pigs ...
A calf ... there were six of these little tykes
They even NAME their cows here!

The Cheese, which is quite good
We finished our New England adventure with a leisurely shun-piking trip up to Kennebunk, Maine, where we stayed at our favorite inn ... Bufflehead Cove Inn. Fabulous just as before. Aside from antiquing the shops and markets of southern Maine, we spent a day wandering the cobblestone streets of Portland's Old Port neighborhood on the waterfront. 
Kennebunk meadow
On Bufflehead Cove
Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth

Portland Waterfront
Old Port in Portland
Old Port Exchange Street
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