Just discovered textile artist, Emily Feldermans antique scissor series.

Sumptious embroidery and antique scissors, what is there not to love and desire?

I find myself drawn again and again to artists who connect with antique objects, who are enchanted by the whispering echos of past lives, and importantly aspire to making them ‘live’ again,

She describes her work as

Vintage scissors have manys stories to tell; I like the idea of using them in new ways and wonder what they were used for before I found them? Stitching? Cutting papers? Utilitarian? Bonsai? They are now part of a complete art piece where their patina, scratches, and history are integrated and unified with my textile work.

 

Bonsai

 

 

Tropical

Boing

 

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I mentioned on my facebook page that I would do a blog post on my learnings after running my second pop up shop this summer…so here goes.

This time round, I had a little under 5 weeks notice that the space was available. This was so much more notice than I had last year so it both gave me the luxury of time to plan, source props, make enough new jewellery, design displays etc. It was fantastic to have the time to do it exactly as I would like it to be, my pinterest-ing went into overdrive, my daydreaming distracting but I needed to make it me, to make it right.

It was terrifying!

What if I failed? I couldn’t say I didn’t have enough time to plan it through….dammit!

Three blank walls, personality-less. Nothing could be attached to the walls, ditto the outside of the shop. Everything had to be either freestanding or I had to be inventive in how I hung/mounted on the walls.

My great friend Corey stepped in to help me brainstorm and a funny trip to her house saw me leave with the boot of the car filled with antique books, a 1700s parasol, an 1800s birdcage, antique sheets and textiles. She really helped me out, her incredible eye and years of collecting allowed me to go ‘shopping’ in the ultimate brocante.

I picked up these incredible antique wallpapers that you see in the two photograph above. My idea was to create two zones, a classical (black/gold/silver) collection and another more vibrant, jewel-toned area. When I saw these wallpapers I knew this was it. I hung them from vintage clothes hangers.

I scattered props throughout including original boxes of notions, antique boxes.

How incredible is this antique suitcase filled with antique books reversed to expose their timeworn pages. I used it to both create a nook/corner on one of the spaces and to hang necklaces from the pages. I loved how it looked but I think the jewellery disappeared into the books so from a sales pov it didn’t quite work.

Coreys 1800s leather books, I loved these and really wanted to incorporate them. One of the things I learnt from last years pop up shop was how essential it was to create ‘spaces’ and height to display. These books did just that. They created a unique space for my cuff collection. I played with layering, spines and pages to add texture.

As you can see in the background I hung a piece of beautiful antique gold fabric, it is so beautiful and I had been dying to use it somehow, so it became a backdrop to my cuffs….lots of metal pegs and transparent fishing wire.

 

I also layered antique photographs, creating an altar to gorgeous goddesses. Each photograph was hung with an antique candle holder clip (turned back to front). Thanks Corey for the photograph!

This was the most interesting display for so many reasons. I had dreamed about creating these ‘story’ frames for my more precious pieces. As each creation had been made from different memories, a buckle found at a brocante, a button found at the bottom of my grandmothers button tin, a piece of gold cord that had been wrapped for 60 years by my husbands great grandfather. I started to think of the different memories each piece must hold, who had worn it, what it had meant to them and how they had all found me.

I wanted to create stories around each piece so I brought together old family photographs, letters, newspaper cuttings etc and created frames for each piece. I created the ‘frames from the lids of black Ikea boxes, they were just the right depth and super light. Then I created hooks and small handles from this amazing stuff called Sugru, it is a self setting rubber and I loved playing with it. It held all of my pieces from a tiny hook which was super impressive.

 

Everyone loved them, they were often the first pieces people would gravitate to when they enterered the space but I did not sell anything in these frames for at least 2 weeks. Someone casually asked could they touch a piece one day and I realised that everyone that came in assumed that they were art pieces, not jewellery to be worn but installations, frame and everything. The minute I realised this I ensured anyone looking knew they could take the pieces down, to try them on, to touch them and enjoy them. Sure enough when I started communicating this – I sold this work. I felt so stupid for not seeing the barrier before, it was a big learning. It may look beautiful but if it is inaccessible then it not working.

For the earring display, as I wanted to use the wall space as well as the table space, I created this piece using an old cutting from ‘Le Petit Echo de Mode’ from 1901 and then layered a hand embroidered floral applique from which I hung several earrings. I loved how this looked….alas if I’m being 100% honest I don’t know how customer-friendly it was.

I love this gorgeous blue mannequin. She really brightened up this corner and added depth and texture to the space.

I fell in love with these antique postcard books that Corey lent me and won’t be giving them back. They are an early Christmas present to myself. Each book has exquisite marbled paper covers.

Lastly – let’s talk about the outside….What to do, what to do… I couldn’t attach anything at all!

I initially flirted with the idea of hanging spools and creating an installation in the window or indeed painting a motif on the window but then I realised it would make the space even darker than it was already. So I made a free hanging sequined glamtastic sign spelling ‘Ruban’ the french for ribbon and I hung it from a door hanger (thanks ikea) so it was 100% detachable. I also then created some movement outside by hanging gold ribbons from the branches of a Tilleuil tree.   I also used some of the incredible antique textiles that Corey lent me to create a  brocante like feel to the outdoor ‘space’. It couldn’t be permanent and it had to be moveable (as I had to bring everything in / set it up again, three times a day)

In week two, I went a bit ‘Les Parapluies de Cherbourg‘ on it and decided that there was something missing from the outside so I suspended Coreys beautiful 1700s umbrella from the tilleil tree, it hung floating in the air from an invisible thread….so beautiful, and I spent many an afternoon looking up at it.

Thanks to Corey Amaro for images and your beautiful props and to the wonderful photographer Lauren V Allen who took a lot of the images you see here. You can read their features on my pop up by clicking on the links!

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Let me take you on a dark journey into the bellows of our family archive room.

This particular visit, I spent most of my time on the floor, in the semi dark (conditions to preserve the archives), taking photographs of the archive book spines.

My pulse starts racing every time I enter, inhaling the smell of old paper, aging silk, dust and pure magic.

I lifted one book down from the shelf.

Collections Noires…. pages the most incredible electric blue, a hint of its bewitching contents spilling over the pages.

Old Ledgers filled with handwritten notes on the year, weight, material, cost per metre, clients, colourways.

How beautiful is this trim, each time I catch a glimpse of these 140 year ribbons and trims it never fails to astonish me how timeless the designs were, they were as relevant then as they are now.

 

 

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I would often hear the words, whatever you don’t want or need just throw it in the bin, something I could never do. Ever tiny fragment reminded me of how fragile this artisan industry is and how quickly the skills are disappearing. No matter how small, how shreaded or how out of fashion, I would take it home, iron out the age creases, dust them off and file them away.

When I started Rubanesque it was with the goal to take these out of the attic / out of their usual context (behind museum glass) and make them wearable again. To breathe life into them, allow them to be loved and adored once more.

So what was I doing with all these boxes of samples that I wasn’t confident enough to use for jewellery making?…I kept telling myself I was going to really improve my sewing and then I would use them….

The last year has taken me on a wonderful textile journey, I’ve been really fortunate to meet artists from all over the world who have such incredible talent and vision. Through them I realised that one of the most exciting things would be to see how other artists would breathe life into these 100+ year old silks, how they might interpret them …and thus my new shop was born.

I have spent the last few weeks opening up my boxes of exquisite silk samples and found textile treasures and starting creating vignettes.

I can’t wait to see what people make with them!

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La retour

by Ruth September 13, 2014
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I’m back…and it has been one serious ride the last six months. A lot of ups and quite a few downs to balance it all out. So if I were to describe everything it would take pages, and pages and it would be terribly boring so in an attempt to give you an idea of [...]

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Inspiring me

by Ruth May 18, 2014
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I can’t get enough of these incredible collages mixing antique jewels, gravures, notions and found objects. “Each one of these objects in my store, they don’t belong to me permanently. They are just passing through.”   Photography by Anita Calero for the book Jewelry by Federico de Vera

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Sparkling beauties

by Ruth March 31, 2014
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Charlotte and I hit the French highway and embarked on our first ‘ladies-only’ adventure down to see my friend Corey Amaro. She is a wonderful supporter, listener, friend, fellow hoarder/collector and we spent hours with her talking silk, dreaming and scheming collaborations , drinking ‘Wedding Imperial’ Mariage Freres tea, sifting through antique limoges stamps, chandelier [...]

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In the studio

by Ruth February 19, 2014
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One of the major inspirations for me at the minute when working away on new pieces is an wondrous painting from the ‘Desirs et Volupte’ Exhibition which ran in the Musee Jacquemart -Andre this winter. I could stare at it all day, Les Roses d’Heliogabalus, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1888 What to do with an antique 1920s [...]

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Works in progress

by Ruth February 19, 2014
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I got busy the last few days finally finishing some necklace projects that I have been procrastinating over for weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the projects over the next few days. Sometimes I remember to snap some photographs during the making process and in this particular case, I documented it quite thoroughly as I [...]

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Strike a pose

by Ruth January 22, 2014
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The new season of Girls just started, I just love Lenas refreshing voice and watched the first two series back to back. The new season coincides with the long awaited Lena Dunham Vogue cover and shoot which is all over the news, how dare she agree to photoshopping, she is conning us all, why don’t [...]

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