Passports with a Purpose Fundraiser

Passports with a PurposeBecause I write about traveling in search of antique jewelry on this blog I’ve gotten to know a lot of travel bloggers over the past year and, through them, the wonderful organization Passports with a Purpose. Passports with Purpose (PwP), which started in 2008, is an annual travel bloggers fundraiser and Worldreader is our 2015 beneficiary. Funds raised will bring digital readers to five libraries in Kenya. I’ve donated two pieces of vintage jewelry to the fundraiser: a Mexican enamel necklace and a Norwegian enamel brooch (see below for more information about Worldreader and about the jewelry that I’ve donated).

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Antiquing in England: Newark Antiques Fair

The Newark Antiques and Collectors Fair

The Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair is the largest in Europe (according to its promoters), with up to 2500 dealers. Held at the Newark and Nottinghamshire Showground, about an hour-and-a-half train ride from London, the fair has a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces, so it goes on rain or shine.

Newark
Newark Antique Fair Site Plan
Newark
View inside one of the buildings

The Newark antiques market is vast (84 acres) and, depending on your collecting interests, can take a full day or two to traverse.  On my first visit two years ago I  arrived the night before so that I’d be ready to go early in the morning. What I discovered during this visit is that the majority of jewelry dealers (my primary interest) were located inside a series of large buildings which are shown in black on the site plan.

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The Jewelry of Margot de Taxco

Margot de Taxco
Pair of Brooches

Margot van Voorhies Carr, known as “Margot de Taxco” was one of the great designers of Mexican jewelry in the mid-20th century. After moving to Mexico in 1937 she married Antonio Castillo who was working for William Spratling. While still working for Spratling Antonio produced and sold jewelry designed by Margot; because it sold well, Antonio, Margot and his brothers and cousins established “Los Castillo” in 1939 with Margot as principal designer.

After divorcing Antonio Castillo Margot opened “Margot de Taxco” in 1948.  According to Penny Morrill and Carole Berk in “Mexican Silver”, Margot designed everything that her company produced and had book of instructions and drawings for each piece of jewelry detailing their construction and finishing.

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Loyola Fourtane: Studio Jewelry Among the Bohemians of Sausalito

Curious marks on a piece of jewelry started me on a journey into the world of mid-20th century bohemian California: why were the words “Lassen” and “Sausalito” engraved on the back of the brooch when Mount Lassen is hundreds of miles north of Sausalito?

As I looked closer at the piece, I could make out some other words: SS, Fourtane, Loyola. Thinking the SS stood for “Sterling Silver”, I ignored it. The mystery was solved when I discovered that Ed and Loyola Fourtane, husband and wife artists and studio jewelers, lived and worked in Sausalito on a former lumber boat, the SS Lassen, from the mid-1930’s until the 1950’s.

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Antiquing in the Bay Area: the Alameda Point Antiques Faire

Updated June 2015 to reflect new information 

Alameda Point Antique Fair

Alameda PointIMG_2557While this is no secret to anyone living in the Bay Area, the Alameda Point Antique Faire should be on the must-do list of anyone visiting the Bay Area who has an interest in vintage and antique goods.  Not only is it great for shopping, but this is also a market with a view:  the market takes place on an air strip at the former Alameda Naval Air Station and has a view of San Francisco, the Bay, and the giant cranes of the Port of Oakland as a backdrop.

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Making Lao Sausage with the “Meat Club”

The Meat Club


sausageFor the past couple of years I’ve been periodically getting together with a group of friends known as “The Meat Club” to make charcuterie:  pates, terrines, and various types of sausage.  We haven’t gotten together for about a year, since the great boudin blanc making episode, but re-assembled at my house on Sunday to make Laotian sausage.  During a previous get-together we made Thai sausage, which was a big hit, and we were exited to try a recipe which contained many of the same seasonings.

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Maker and Muse, part 2: the ASJRA Conference

Conference
ASJRA
Necklace by Sybil Dunlop

I recently attended the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts (ASJRA).  This year the conference was held in Chicago in conjunction with the exhibit Maker and Muse, Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry at the Driehaus Museum.  Elyse Zorn Karlin, curator of the exhibit, is one of the founders and co-directors of ASJRA.

Day 1
ASJRA
Mosaic fireplace surround at Driehaus Museum

The first day of the conference began with a tour of the Driehaus Museum and a curator’s tour of the exhibit.  Click here to see my post about the exhibit.

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Maker and Muse, part 1: Exhibit and Book

Maker and Muse Exhibit
maker and muse
Child and Child tiara
maker and muse
Stained glass dome in the Driehaus Museum

I recently visited the exhibit Maker and Muse, Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago.  Curated by Elyse Zorn Karlin, author of Jewelry and Metalwork in the Arts and Crafts Tradition, the exhibit explores the multiple roles women played in the creation of early 20th century art jewelry as makers, patrons, and subjects.  About half of the 250 pieces in the exhibit are drawn from the collection of Richard H. Driehaus – founder of the museum – and half are on loan from other museums and private collections.  I was in Chicago to attend the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts (ASJRA) which was focused this year on the subjects covered in the museum exhibition.  For my post on the conference click here.

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Antiquing in Texas: Round Top

Round topI’ve wanted to attend the big antiques fair in Round Top, Texas for many years and finally did so this year. Known as “Antiques Weekend” or “Texas Antiques Week”, both are really misnomers as the shows take place over more than a two week span (March 21-April 5 in 2015, the year I attended).

During this time period over 60 separate shows take place in several towns about midway between Austin and Houston, with the greatest concentration in the towns of Round Top and Warrenton.  I stayed in Austin and it was about an hour and a half drive.  The shows are mostly strung along a 10 mile stretch of highway 37.

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The Women’s Travel Fest

I’ve always loved seeking out antique markets while traveling but when I started going on buying trips for my antique jewelry business a few years ago this became the focus of my travels, and finding great markets became critically important. Unfortunately, I found much of the information online and in guidebooks to be poor.  So I decided to fill that vacuum and share my discoveries on this blog and make it a resource for antique dealers, collectors, and travelers with a love of antiques.

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For Lovers of Antique Jewelry and Traveling the World to Find It