Friday, 12 May 2017

Expect the Unexpected

"Expect the Unexpected". These are words we hear often. If you are at all like myself? Not nearly often enough! I have never, until now, truly understood this phrase. If it is true that change is inevitable, then this phrase is also true. Continuing the lessons from last Month's Post, I would add the following: When change is thrust upon you, surround yourself with smart people. I swear to you that it is possible to climb a point or two in practical IQ by osmosis! When pressed to adapt to sudden change and by asking for advice from people who I consider far more intelligent in the ways and means to pass the test - I suddenly found myself looking at pathways I would never have even recognized, never mind traveled. It forced me to look at things from a new perspective. To observe my own puzzle as though through their eyes. It reinforced the notion that for every door that closes, a window opens. I know, I know! Cheeseball, right? But it is true nonetheless. I began to draw links from questions to answers. I followed all lines and avenues presented. In short, I opened my mind to POSSIBILITIES. They say the most powerful word in the English Language is "IF", am I right? By answering all questions with If, I found a way to Be. As unexpected as it may seem, recognizing opportunity is a large part of success. I suddenly saw answers and ways to make things happen, in a way I never could before the precipitating event. I was forced to adjust my own sense of responsibility and essentially, walk into it more fully. To take a more fulsome ownership and become far more independent. It may seem counter-intuitive, that by asking for help, I became more independent - but it is true! And just when I was ready to hit the button on "GO" - everything changed - yet again! But this time I was open to the possibilities, saw the opportunities and found the answers! All systems are now GO for Hip! HipHipHooray!

Here is a poem of sorts, I wrote that touches upon these factors in a small way:
Curiosity propels us towards interaction. Interaction is progress.
Progress leads us towards purpose. Purpose shows us the path.
Pathways create intersections, within which lay possibility ~ the nucleus of which is hope.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Roll With Change - Or Be Rolled Over By It!

In Life, one thing is certain. Change is inevitable. Change will be. Change Is. You can either choose to roll with change - or be rolled over BY it! When change is forced upon us, without notice, it can be a challenge to stay positive. But you MUST. If ever I can help anyone to understand anything? It will be this, small but important thing; Change = Opportunity. I will expand upon this in future posts but for just this moment, please indulge me? I want to share a few lessons learned from sudden and unyielding change.

The first lesson would have to be to stay flexible. Rigidity in uncertain times, whether in business or life, will cause extra drag - more than simply gravity!
Second lesson is that it is always good to do a deep, clean out. Yes. Moving forward, a part of my business plan will be the occasional, deep discount fire sale. Were I to do it again, I'd go through, deactivate any items with high value/intrinsic value like gold or gemstones and sell the older stock to clear room/make money to purchase, newer, fresher, higher end "trade ups" if you will.
Third lesson is this; sentimentality in business is counter productive. It is perfectly fine to have a sentimental attachment to things. But not things you want to sell. As long as I am making my money back, to reinvest with a more critical eye? I will be very happy. If I end off making a bit above break even from whatever sale I implement? Kudos! We all love the Chedder - right? lol But in the end? In Vintage/preused? An item is worth whatever someone is willing to give you on the day you decide to sell it.

Finally? Be Proactive!
Here endeth the lessons. up to now.
Your Pal. always,

Thursday, 6 April 2017

In the Eye of the Beholder

It is not the well ordered design of this pearl cluster brooch that excites me. It is the way that one pearl seems as if about to roll off, rakishly unexpected and immediate. It is this aspect of design that drives me wild!

We all know the saying. But do we know why? What is it that defines Beauty? More than the sum of it's parts, beauty is many things to many people. Whether it is the bold, linear and organized lines of the Art Deco design style, the naturalistic, bountiful and curvaceous lines of the Art Nouveau design style or the mathematical, sculptural lines of the Modernist design style - one thing is clear; beauty is.

The human brain is pre programmed to find patterns. Facial recognition is likewise, an inborn talent. But as much as we are drawn to patterns, to organized lines - whether natural, man made or virtual - there is also a less definable aspect to what we find beautiful, generally speaking. There must be more to a design than simple math. When it comes to design, it is as much about what is not there, as what is. The eye is drawn to patterns, yes. But what is safe is not what excites us. Think about your favorite faces. I bet there are distinguishing characteristics within that pattern, that safe and beloved face, that stand out from the rest of what you are seeing. The way an eye tilts, a crooked smile. The deep laugh lines that draw the eye. The same is true for design.

As much as I adore the carefully considered lines in a traditional piece of jewelry, what really gets my engine purring are the ones that have ne sais quoi. The way a pearl hangs apart from the edge of a cluster, the overdrawn, heavily weighted wired ends of an atomic asteristic design brooch that seem to be weightless - the ordered chaos of a modernist design. The sculptural aspects of a great piece of jewelry design - almost as if you can hear the indrawn breath of the maker. And that is it too - the idea that you can see the hand of the maker within each piece. That there is something extraordinary about it. Because when it comes down to it, isn't this what we all love about Art? That it moves us in some way. Touches us and yes, adorns us. A good design has more than a nice pattern. It has a story behind it. It speaks to us, of a time and place, sometimes it is an ideal or a movement. Sometimes, we might even say, it has a soul.

This sweet little Damascene design clam or oyster just tickles me pink every time I see it. The designer chose to add that little pearl, sat it just inside the lip of the clam. How sweet it is to my eye. Playful and filled with whimsy, I love it.

With it's many spires, each end set with a glittering colored rhinestone, this Astro Burst, Atomic Mod design jewelry set seems to defy gravity - by design!

One of My Favorite Pieces - An Unusual Modernist Design by Coro - Organized Chaos!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Begin at the Beginning...

An actual Find from the Trash Pile! Hanging from a discarded Xmas Tree was this Sterling Trifari Lyre Bird - Truly Trash Pile Pirate Booty!
I hear from people quite often, about the stories I tell. The descriptions included in my listings at HipCricket, my little shop on Etsy. People really seem to connect to these details - whether actual provenance from the previous owner or simply my musings regarding type, era, aesthetic or maker. Many have asked me about how I came by them and why do I care - surely a sale is a sale? Why invest such time and effort into each listing? So here is my attempt at answering this question.

When I was a young girl, I found myself drawn to Swap Meets. Where else could someone with very little money, find a beautiful bauble, meet new people and spend a day away from home? I adored hearing vendors tell their stories about how or why an item came to them. Now, I understand the whole notion of "romancing the stone" and fully understand it is a tactic for making a sale. But I have always loved a good story. I returned, week after week, got to know who was 'legit' and who was telling porkie pies. Caught up in the moment, occasionally these events took on a carnival air. It didn't take long for me to graduate from potential client to full on seller of whatever goods I could carry on my bike.

I remember the entire process, complete with ritualistic excitement, anticipation and an un-yielding hope for making a bit pf pocket change. You had to get there very early - not an easy feat for a teenager. You found your spot, set out your wares and waited. Soon, the day would begin to unfold and I fast gained a sixth sense for how it would progress and whether people would be in a buying mood, or just killing time. About half way through the day, the agent would arrive, time to pay the piper! This was the moment when I would have to decide - do I stay? Take a gamble on the day? Or, if I had not one red cent in my pocket - did I fold and walk away? The agents were always willing to let me stay, to return later for payment for my spot, I remember that. They were also taking a gamble - on me.

In those early days I stuck with smalls. Things casually thrown away, discarded by the rules of fashion's whimsical dictate. Clothes from my Mother's (and yes, sisters, yours too) closets. Costume jewelry. Odd bits of China. Sometimes, I would swap with other vendors for some small thing I had an inkling I could re-sell or perhaps, just because I liked it. Soon I became a veteran trash pile pirate.

Those swap meet days were the beginning of a life long love for old things. These bits and pieces of the past have a romance about them, in my view. A back story. I can imagine all sorts of stories they could tell. Wherever possible, I ask for these stories when I procure an item. It is this attachment to history that really turns me on - the opportunity to draw a line, reaching into the past and connecting it with this very moment in time. Of course, this is not always possible to do. When I have no back story available to me, I tell the story of the item itself. I draw a line at making things up about an item. If I don't have access to the historical background of an item, I simply describe the item itself - allowing it to speak for itself, if you get my meaning. The construction details, the design style or component parts in the design itself. I spend a great deal of time researching things like era, style, particular makers, marks and other clues involved in telling the story. It's a bit like being a detective. A mystery or puzzle to be solved. When successful, I feel a huge rush of well being. Of completion. When unsuccessful, I occasionally keep things back, waiting for more information, sources or means to identify the piece. More often, I simply describe the item itself and let it be.

I take great joy from hunting for, offering up these tiny treasures from yesteryear. I truly love these little beauties - and the stories they tell. I think it shows. I understand that it will be a life long endeavor. I know that I know almost nothing. But sometimes, knowing only that is knowing quite alot. The curve is steep and I welcome the climb!

One of My most exciting discoveries to date - a verified Neiger Brothers Egyptian Revival Brooch

A beautiful Horn and Paste Stone Hair Comb marked Silver - Saved from the Trash Pile!
Discover HipCricket on Etsy!