Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Of houseboats and locks

A distant view of the Bastille column

Not too far from where we live is a canal with lots of houseboats parked all year round.  I hardly ever pay them any attention because they've become so much a part of my normal landscape. As I was going through my photos, I came across some we took late last fall before the cold hit and I thought I'd share them here.

It was a really mild weekend so we decided to take a little walk and I got to see a unknown part of the canal that I've long taken for granted.  Just past where all the houseboats are parked  we came across a system of locks.  I thought it had long been closed to general use but to my surprise, its still very much a working lock.  Just as we were passing by, we saw this boat come along...

 And through some unseen lever or button, they managed to activate the system. The gates started to open...
 and the water started to rise
 and rise!

 And there they go, ready to join the other side of the canal.  It was a really funny thing to see in the middle of the city, so close to where I live.  It made me wonder how it would be to live on a houseboat.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How much is that dog in the window...

It was the dog peering out the window that first drew my attention as we were walking.  He had such a serious air about him. Then I noticed the shoes, particularly this red pair....

We had to stop and take a look. In fact these shoes are as artisanal and as handmade as my jewelry. They are made by hand in Camargue in the South of France by a company that does limited edition pairs for Homies (the store we were in).  They have one pair for each size and when they don't do repeat orders. How exclusive is that right? 

I love the idea of artisanal shoes. Of anything artisanal and homemade actually. In this day and age, it gets harder and harder to stick to making things by hand. They cost a lot in terms of labor hours and material but the end result is special. I know that every piece I made is in a way a labor of love and I like to think that it shows. I'm sure whoever made these shoes feel the same way I do. They certainly look like someone's labor of love.

 I love this camel colored ones too...they would be  perfect for the mid-season.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the geek in me

I'm super excited! I just received my very own set of the Picard books on beads.  John and Ruth Picard run the Picard Trade Bead Museum and African Gallery.  For bead enthusiasts their set of books is an invaluable pictorial documentation of the world of trade beads. If not for these books, how else can we see so many examples of fancy Venetians,feather beads, white hearts and Rosetta beads to name just a few of those who've made their way in the pages of their books.  Its pretty amazing to see them in full color.  Now maybe I can visit their museum next.

Monday, February 6, 2012

How do I love thee...

German made beads exported in great quantities in the Middle East early 20th century hence the name Islamic beads

Yes its almost that time of the year when romance is in the air and everywhere you turn there are couples holding hands and chocolate shops have a tremendous boost in their sales.   I don't know how you feel about this day of the year, whether you happily agree with its sentiments or feel that its too commercial by half, but I  do know that  I couldn't help but be influenced a wee bit.

It seems everything I've been making lately is in hues of red...

Whether its the first pair of earrings with its moon and starts motif or this  gorgeous pair of red millefiori earrings
the beads are from the 50s
 or this beauty of a millefiori bracelet..
the beads here are even older
 I lucked out and found a trove of very special French made beads dating back from the beginning of the 20th century and they are beautiful. This is the first necklace I made from that stash.
I wanted to show you a closer view of the bead.  Its a glass bead with little pearls inserted right in the middle of it.  Isn't it cool?

And finally here is a demi-parure of earrings and necklace. I used faceted red glass beads from the 50s and Kakamba beads. These beads were made in France, Bohemia and Germany starting in the 19th century and exported to Africa as trade beads.

 I love the way the splashes of red play against the white background

I will upload these in the hsop but if you are interested in any of these beauties, don't hesitate to get in touch with me at dpmerveilles(@)

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tough times for the glass makers

Hello folks, its definitely winter in this part of the world. I have the impression to be freezing cold. Time to bunker down and work.  Took a bit of a break and came across an article from the Guardian about the uncertain future faced by the Murano glass workers.  You can find the full article here.

Being a glass maker is hard work and less and less people want to do it.  Coupled with the fierce competition from Chinese and Eastern European beads, its little wonder that the industry is facing some tough times.  Reading this makes me even more appreciative of the beads that I've managed to collect in the relatively short time that I've been making jewelry.  It makes me sad to think that this industry might well go the way of dinosaurs and I'm even more determined to preserve what I can.  Its not really a New Years resolution but one that I'm taking to heart.