Tag Archives: symbolism

Elizabeth Ngo: Antique Button Jewelry

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Elizabeth Ngo creates jewelry from historical works of art. Perhaps you yourself own one of these tiny historical pieces, thrown into a jar or the back of a drawer. You might have one or two tucked under your sofa cushion. The button. The simple fastener that fastens material and memories and generations. How many of us remember hours of entertainment sifting through button collections? Enjoying the feel of running our fingers through a pile spilled onto the floor. Marveling at the variety and detail. Turning to our siblings to say, “look at this one!” So often, as I stand with a customer, picking up this piece and that of the Ngo collection, I hear a story tied to memories of our mothers, our grandmothers, our younger selves.

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The simple button carries a sort of sacred quality that transports us to another time. Elizabeth Ngo retains that quality by creating with great respect and attention to detail. With a profound reverence for the historical significance of each piece, she maintains the integrity of the button by leaving the shank in tack. Setting the buttons in finely worked and beautifully detailed sterling silver to create wonderfully balanced rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Adding details of Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones and the finest findings.

“I work mostly with the Victorian Glass, picturesque French Metals, carved pearls and hand painted enamel buttons from this period. They are all very unique works of art that speak about their time period. Preserving these buttons into unique pieces of jewelry is my way of putting the buttons back on the women.”

These elegant works of art reflect the era of the 1800’s in Europe. Whimsical characters, fleur de lis imagery, knights and battles, created with amazing enameling and intricate carving. Victorian glass, pearls and shells, ornate rhinestones and iridescent glass, all reflecting a time when art and history and handwork were highly revered. ring

The history of buttons goes back at least as far as the Satsumas, highly collectible ceramic buttons from Japan. Named for a historic ceramics center on the southernmost island of Japan, Satsumas were first made in the 17th century by Korean potters. These buttons were often painted in extraordinary detail, depicting miniature scenes from Japanese life and the natural world.

The brass picture buttons, which you’ll find in the Elizabeth Ngo collection, come from the Victorian era and are also highly collectible. Delightful pieces, stamped with charming images inspired by everything from operas to children’s books. Other picture buttons took their cues from nature (flora and fauna), the sciences (stars and moons), or mythology (cupids and fairies). 22-13-02

22-13-35Black glass buttons from the Victorian era came next. Initially, black buttons were made out of jet, a fossilized coal found near Whitby, England. But because of the high cost of jet, black glass was soon used as a replacement.

Some black glass buttons were molded to create reliefs of plants and animals, and detailed pictorials. Some of the buttons have reliefs of fabrics patterns; others have a stunning silver or iridescent luster. You might also find some that have been painted or enameled.

Explore our cases and join in discovering the stories behind these historical pieces. Once your inner sleuth is awoken, you might check out some of these great online resources to further your adventure:

Hammond Turner & Sons online collection: http://www.hammond-turner.com/

Keep Homestead online collection: http://keephomesteadmuseum.org/button.htm

The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A), London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. They have an online button collection that you can view at: http://bit.ly/1rXwmIB

Field Guide to Antique Buttons and Vintage Glass http://www.grandmothersbuttons.com/Images/Interior/resources/gran_fieldguide_web2011.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Puppet Alchemy

Despite it’s simplicity, the puppet is one of the most sophisticated transformational tools we can bring to our children’s lives.

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“Puppetry isn’t simply child’s play. While American audiences may be more familiar with hyperactive Sesame Street characters and a “Disneyfied” version of Pinocchio, the puppet in societies across the world has played the role of provocateur, historian, clairvoyant,and keeper of the faith, says Kenneth Gross in a new book, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life (University of Chicago Press, 2011). From re-enacting sacred texts in Balinese shadow puppetry to mocking authority in England’s raucous Punch and Judy shows, puppets are masters of metamorphosis and often, mirrors of ourselves.”

“That part of us that finds life in objects is an aspect of the child’s imagination and instinct that is later hidden or sometimes let go of in adulthood. It’s something children are indeed more adept at, finding life and voice in objects. Puppets awaken that part of us. They bring a part of us back to play.”

http://www.rochester.edu/pr/Review/V74N5/pdf/0304_inrev_puppets.pdf

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Puppets have been used to help children open up about subjects that are difficult to face directly, by creating a simple scenario based on the child’s experience but set in a different context. Puppet therapy can be used to help children work though issues as simple as hurt feelings over a broken toy to losses as great as those experienced around natural disasters. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4416267.stm

“Puppets are one step away from being human and so there’s distance but at the same time we can identify with them.” –Dr Jones, a child psychiatrist with the International Medical Corps (IMC)

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While children will play without our involvement, there are many ways that we can engage. Thank you to www.gogivers.org for the list of the many ways that puppets can be used to work and play with children.

Puppets can…

· Model behaviors that teachers and parents want to promote

· Bring more reticent children out of their shells, and help everyone become more expressive

· Become ‘ambassadors’ as well as friends, introducing children to new topics

· Become a confidant for younger children – they may respond directly to the puppet when they are unwilling to converse with others directly.

· Encourage children who are learning English as a second language to ‘have a go’ if they feel hesitant because they are unsure of certain pronunciations or of exactly how to express themselves

· Support children with special needs, including those with attention deficits and visual and hearing impairments

· Role play strategies for resolving conflict

· Boost self esteem and to bring a sense of unity to the classroom or group of children.

· Provide an excellent way for children to work through their fears and vocalize their feelings

· Help children to settle into a new school

· Act as powerful communication tools. Talking about their ideas helps children clarify their thinking and develops their reasoning skills

· Access a world of imagination and fun for children

This Holiday season, consider a toy that is guaranteed to carry the spirit of the season and to bring joy and wonder to young and old. Come into Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay and let us help you find the perfect puppet to add to or start your collection.

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Stackable Rings

Throughout history the principal use of gemstones has been for healing and spiritual rituals. While gems were rare and beautiful, the reason they were so valued was due to the power they imparted to their wearers through contact with the body. Many people today still choose stones based in that ancient intuition.

Our new collection, of Marija stackable rings of sterling silver and semiprecious stones, affords you the versatility to create the right combination for your particular daily intentions. To name a few, our selection includes: Citrine, to create optimism and increase self-confidence and the achievement of personal goals; Peridot, to heal hurt feelings and mend damaged relationships; Pearls, to promote sincerity, truth and loyalty and to help calm and focus attention.

stackedrings5 borderAffordable and versatile, stackable rings are a great jewelry essential, fitting together to create a variety of options. Mix and match stones of varied colors, textures and intensities to create the perfect combination for your mood and dress.

The stackable ring allows you to wear a simple wide band pearl one day, turn up the energy another day by adding a gemstone or two, or simply combine them on a beautiful, long chain to wear as a necklace.

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Perhaps you would like to unite a medley of your children’s birthstones, or create the perfect anniversary ring duet of his and her birthstones.

And with June just around the corner, you might want to consider the stackable ring as a timeless alternative to the more typical class ring. Gift your graduating daughter a combination of her birthstone and your own, as a way to symbolize your loving presence in her life as she sets off on her journey. Our line of Marija stackable rings will last generation after generation so that she may one day pass on this meaningful symbol of the lasting love of family, to her own children.

Visit us, or give us a call, at (805)772-9955 or come into our store at Seven Sisters Gallery, 601 Embarcadero # 8, Morro Bay, CA so that we can help you choose the perfect start of this wonderfully collectable accessory. 

Zealandia Designs: Art and the Gifts of Ancient Wisdom

“The boundless profusion of animal symbolism in the religion and art of all times does not merely emphasize the importance of the symbol; it shows how vital it is for men to integrate into their lives the symbol’s psychic content— instinct.”   -Jung, Carl Gustav, Man and His Symbols. Random House, Inc.

Weaving together her love of natural materials, and a fascination with spiritual and mythological art, Zealandia Design’s artisan, Jenny Byrne, has created a unique line of silver, gold fill, and fossilized ivory jewelry rich in archetypal symbolism.

Even the materials Jenny chooses seem infused with the gifts of ancient wisdom to be carried forward to our modern psyches. Jenny combines the natural elements of silver, gold fill, fossilized walrus tusk, ancient mammoth ivory, semi-precious stones, ammonites, mother of pearl, and paua, into jewelry as unique as a fingerprint. Incorporating ancient fossilized ivories with colors ranging from creamy white to a rich black, depending on the minerals it was in contact with and the length of time it was in the ground. Fossilized walrus tusk, which has lain beneath the soil for 500 to 3,000 years, is obtained legally from Eskimo families who excavate it from village sites on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. With intention, Jenny selects the fossilized ivory, vibrant shells, and semi-precious stones, appropriate for each piece of her handcrafted jewelry.

“The richness of hues developed by the fossilization of ancient ivory makes each piece of our ivory jewelry unique. The idea of using ivory as old as the petroglyphs, and cultures that inspire me, is very exciting as I like my designs to tell stories that honor the wisdom ancient people developed to explain and understand the forces surrounding them. I see early expressions of writing, art and ritual as having an innate power, and incorporate this into my designs as silent incantations or mantra.”   -Jenny Byrne, Zealandia Designs

Beyond the materials is the design. A design informed by Jenny Byrne’s love and respect for the stories and mythology of our ancestors and a deep understanding of the enduring power of archetypal symbolism. Images familiar to all of us, via our dreams and stories and our time in the natural world.

Wearing Zealandia Designs, you can know that you have brought more than a beautiful and timeless piece of jewelry into your life; you have brought the gifts of ancient wisdom.

Zealandia's Dragonfly Rising Pin/Pendant

Please feel free to leave a comment by hitting “leave a reply” at the top of the page. Let us know which symbols, from the natural world, you find personally significant and would like to welcome into your life; or any other thoughts you’d like to share.