Sunday, January 30, 2011

Loving Vintage in a Modern World

I love vintage things.  Love love love.  However, I stink at making vintage jewelry, for the most part.  I've made a few pieces, but there are artists out there who make FAR better pieces than I do, so I let my vintage bead drawer sit until I get some sort of divine inspiration down the road.

Necklace made with vintage components, made by one of my favorite artists, Deryn Mentock

My house is an eclectic mix of modern, vintage, and whimsy.  We have the modern red couch (which FINALLY arrived a couple of weeks ago), as well as a modern rug.

Tucked in corners of bookcase shelves, however, are bits and pieces of the things I've found on treasure hunts. Sometimes I have no idea WHY they speak to me, like this old enamel paint can.  I found it in an antique store and carried it around for an hour while looking at other things.  I just couldn't put it down for some reason.  It had to be mine.

Some things are one-offs, but some are collections, such as these china tea cups from my dearest of dears, Allegra.

Sometimes I run out of room and just start putting things wherever there's space, mixing things up with no rhyme or reason.  I actually LIKE that style of decorating, because you never know what you'll find, and each walk through the house, each exploration for a book in the bookcase, can bring back a memory.

vintage leather camera case tucked behind a vintage milk bottle

I mix the whimsical with vintage all the time.  In my office, a funky handmade fish made by a clever friend of mine sits next to old, old photographs and vintage books.  Behind the fish is a modern purple vase and an old glass electrical insulator.

Most of the time my vintage finds stay small.  I would LOVE a Hoosier or an entire vintage kitchen, but our house is just not big enough to hold the grand pieces I inevitably fall in love with.  However, the other day I wandered into a local antique store and found an amazingly affordable cedar chest and made it mine.  I was so stinking thrilled I would have done a Happy Dance but there was snow and ice on the ground and I've broken my leg three different times so I just giggled and fist-pumped the air.

And here it sits in our bedroom, which is my "Girl Cave" -- lately, my favorite room in the house.

While writing this blog, I thought, "Wait just a second.  Make jewelry like you decorate your house!"  Now, that's a trickier thing to pull off on such a small scale -- after all, making a 7" bracelet with both whimsical and vintage pieces is an entirely different thing than decorating a 17 x 18 room!  

Of the few vintage-mixed-with-contemporary-turned-whimsical pieces I've made, these are my favorites:
pink vintage glass, contemporary brown Czech glass and chain

large vintage lucite beads with contemporary chain

vintage lucite with contemporary pewter rings

I still maintain that the vintage styles I love such as Deryn Mentock's is a style I'll buy rather than make -- it's just completely outside my creative reach.  But I'm fine with that!  I know my limits, and I look at my jewelry design as I look at my house design ... eclectic, fun to look at, and the type where you never know which direction I'm coming from.  Some may call that a bad business move.  Could be.  But for the past seven years, it's worked for me, made me happy, and made my customers look forward to the next show.

And if something makes you happy, I say, you're doing it right.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.


  1. agreed! and it is a look all your own which is what you want for your business...

  2. Knowing your limits is a good thing! I have that same sort of funky decorating. I use what I like. I tuck things here and there. I love the red couch that your necklace with the red beads complements. And when you find someone with a style that is completely different it is great to start collecting them!
    Enjoy the day,

  3. Beautiful pieces - I love the pink and brown.

  4. It makes you happy, it makes your customers happy, and it's beautiful...why change? It's important to stay true to yourself and your style.

    Thank you for linking to me, Lori!

  5. OOOOHHH! I really love that vintage-mixed-with-contemporary-turned-whimsical piece!!!

  6. Anonymous6:21 PM

    I love your home! It's a bit like mine with some funky thrown in and a bit of whimsy, and don't forget the bohemian or the discarded that became a beloved. A true mix of art for a home full of heART!!

    And happy customers make for a happy artist :)

  7. Pretty jewelry! I get to try my hand at vintage, too, with my Bead Soup partner. I can't wait! :)

  8. Will you come to my house and decorate for me? This must be fun to see all of this on a daily basis!

  9. We each have our own styles. That's what makes us creative. I love your style and your sense for the eclectic.

  10. You are exactly right know what is inside of you. And, if you stay true to it, you will never go wrong =)

  11. Anonymous4:11 AM

    So glad the sofa finally arrived!

    It's a fun idea, making jewellery like how your house is decorated. I may take you up on your challenge, and use my favourite chair as inspiration!

  12. That pink and brown necklace is so beautiful, a lovely soft and romantic colour combination.
    I also love the earrings.
    And your home is lovely, too.

  13. Great post. I love Deryn's work too. But couldn't make it either. So glad we are all our own selves. Makes the blogsphere such a fun place to be.

  14. What a fabulous cedar chest. I love your decorating style. It is so fresh and fun. You did just fine on the vintage pieces you made. They are lovely!! I understand though because there are certain styles of jewelry that I just do not do well!

  15. Oh Lori, I love the sneak peek into your house. I would be constantly inspired by those pieces. And I love, love, love the brown and pink necklace. It is such a joy to read your posts, and get to know everyone thru them.
    Have a blessed day,

  16. You have such an amazing eye for decorating1 I can only imagine how wonderful it is to be able to see your treasures each day! Have a good day! :)

  17. I'm a huge vintage fan myself, my home is a mixture as well, what I like, not what it is fashion. Love the red couch...

    I don't do much vintage in jewelry, not to say I wouldn't, I just haven't... :0)

    Love the pink & brown combo necklace, substantial yet feminine.

    I like your thought..."make jewelry like you decorate your house"...tricky to do maybe, but it would be interesting to see what emerges!!!
    Enjoy your day...

  18. I LOVE that chest. What a wonderful find that was!

  19. I say, what's the difference between the way you decorate your home and the way you design your jewelry? Only YOU can say that it's different! I say you shouldn't "know" your limits, you have NO limits, only the ones that you give yourself. Take it from an older person, just start putting stuff together, with no intent to sell it and see if you still like it in a couple of months. Tweak it, play with it and you might find you can stretch your limits. Love that cedar chest!

  20. OK - Is your house always this clean or did you hire a herd of housekeepers before pictures? Ha I'm quite envious. I wish I had a clean house, artistically decorated. Unfortunately I share my house with a husband and a man-child and way to many pets.
    Your art tastes are exquisite. Bravo on a home worth living in.

  21. Love the modern twists on vintage pieces, Lori. Such a good thought, taking inspiration form your house. I might do something similar as soon as I clean mine up enough to be inspired :)

    ~Kate (The Tropical Blonde)

  22. I love the pink/brown necklace, Lori! I'm also in love with that cedar chest!!

  23. So lovely! Thanks for sharing the pictures of your home. And I normally don't go for items like that, but that fish vase decoration piece is stunning.

  24. I loved the look around your house. Every day here another treasure is uncovered and things are constantly mixed, paired and rearranged. (Yes, the cats help with that.)
    Happy to hear you have your red couch. What a fantastic treasure you found with your chest!
    No happy dances allowed in slippery weather.

  25. How wonderful! Thanks for showing us your house full of treasures and lovely jewelry :)

  26. Hi Lori,

    I loved reading this post, I have a mix of decorations at home and a mix of jewelry styles and was just pondering if I need to narrow my focus on my jewelry style, but I create what I love and my techniques are evolving.

    I took Deryn's musical notes class with ArtBliss and she makes beautiful pieces and is such an inspiration like you. Thank you for inspiring me to keep creating!

    Sandi Volpe

  27. Thanks for sharing your home, love the hunt for unique things for my home also and mixing it up, such fun.


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