Thursday, August 13, 2015

Why I Like Shopping at B'Sue's Boutiques

By Joseff of Hollywood

 Maybe it all started when I was a kid. . .I mean, most of us would have to believe out predilections and habits and hobbies came out of what we did as children, wouldn't you agree?

Me, old enough to know better; young enough not to care.

I grew up in a very middle class family with a father who was a machinist and a mother who was a stay at home wife and mother. This was long before domestic engineers were all the rage. I grew up wearing hand me downs,learning to bake and cook--even if it was to earn a Girl Scout Badge, learning how to embroider, crochet and work with water color and oils, learning how to design our own patterns and sew our own clothes and learning how to string beads. Saying we did not have much money would have been an understatement. To make ends meet, my father indulged in his hobby--restoring Model A and Model T roadsters. And, to this end, we would end up at swap meets driving the most hideous yellow and green double can truck with a huge utility bed on the back piled high with "valuable merchandise." From Turlock to Harrah's Swap Meet in Nevada, we would go early in the morning, myself napping most of the way over, have breakfast that was packed in the car and then awake to slow activity of old friends our family had made over the years and new friends that we would see for years.

When I was old enough to explore alone, I was able to try on clothes from the 1920's and look at the china and the jewelry. I had my saved up allowance with me for the first time and I bought a bag of sparkling jewelry --broken bits and pieces--for 1.00.  I swear, I must have been a bird in a past life--I love shiny things so much. It was bits, but my dolls would be beautiful. My mother ,less than enthusiastic , pronounced it dirty and ordered me to take it back to the place from which it had come and of course, get my dollar back. So, good kid that I was, I took it back. But I held it in my heart. It is there still.

I opened my first online venue in 2007. A year before the housing market took a dump. When vintage was still at a premium and good stuff was still out there to be found. One of the things I always loved was finding pieces that matched what was in the books written by the experts. It was like stamp collecting where you found the stamp that was on the page that you needed after buying that yellow envelope of stamps. Except these were not all from Helsinki or Italia as those stamps seemed to be.

Loving Miriam Haskell jewelry, as I do,I went on a search for cage work components. And that is how I became acquainted  B'Sue.  From her ebay store to her online venue, I knew there was something special something different . It didn't take long to realize that some of the same stampings she was selling were identical to some of the jewelry used by established designers. When she says that they are from vintage tool dies, she is right on.

So, I wanted to share with you some of what she has sold in the past and what she is selling now. If she has it now, there will be a link to the item. The piece that is pictured at the top of the blog is by Joseff of Hollywood. Joseff designed for many films in Hollywood. The started in 1935, so they produced jewelry for movies such as Gone with the Wind and Breakfast at Tiffany's. The center plaque of that piece was sold by B'Sue's for quite a few years.

Grape Leaves and Vines

Another Joseff of Hollywood piece uses the grapevine frame many of us have used. It can be found right here .

Sold as singles on the main site and sometimes as multiples on the Etsy site.
This is another Joseff of Hollywood Piece

 Birds I

Another piece that was just online at B'Sue's is the birds with arms over the flowers. The dress clips, also brass,were designed by Fred Razazadeh and are a book piece.
They are identical except for the hardware on the back.  I have shown both the front and the back so you can make comparisons.


 The deer stamping, which can be found online here , is found in the sister store on Etsy.

As you can tell, the pieces are again, identical.

 The next brooch is a sterling silver piece by Lang Silver.  It is vintage.


Another popular piece that can be found on the site is the porthole bezel. This is a piece I like to use a lot. I found this one stylized into a scarf clip. It has been modified to have a wave in the disc itself but the pattern is the same as is the size. You can find this piece here .

This is the back of the clip and as you can see, it has been broken off

This is the piece on the website

Birds II

One of the things most collectors want in their collections are the Corocraft Duettes swallows. I believe that the body design is the same on one of the stampings. The head has been altered a bit. That is not unusual for designers.The link for the bird is here . I also have a page that talks about Coro and Corocraft.  You can follow the link here .

Here are the pictures:
The back of the piece showing the clip that fits into the setting so you can wear as a pair

The front

B'Sue's piece. . . Notice how the head is straight but everything else down to the attention in the tail is similar

Laurel Burch Piece

A prolific artisan of everything from jewelry to bags to masks in the 1980;s was Laurel Burch.  B'Sue Bird stamping is an exact match to her 1976 piece called Soaring Birds.

You  can find the stamping here .


Finally, one of my favorite stampings that I actually used in the Build A Line Challenge class, which, if you EVER get the chance, get into it and you will soar. . . the right and left facing monkeys.  Now , I have to tell you that this artist D. (for Daniel or Danny Pollak) is a Canadian artist who has been making jewelry out of Toronto for the past 30 years.  Only part of the stamping is used.  You will want to look closely, to create whimsy on this monkey kind.  My using the stamp and other pieces, he creates something new.  He reminds me of our own Harry Wood at Oscar Crow.  You can find Harry's shop here .

Harry sometimes uses the metal stamping to create new creates, like his bunny Marie Antoinette, or when he uses the heads from German bisque animals a top the bodies of German bisque people forms.  Fascinating and fresh!

Back to Daniel Pollak.  B'Sue carried this stamping.

 In the build a line challenge, I used it this way:

I call this Saint Simian because the top piece I used as a connector makes monkey look like he's wearing a halo!

Danny Pollak used it this way:

Picture by Sandy Campbell

Picture by Sandy Campbell

You can read more about D. Pollak here .


I have one final stamping to show you.  The butterfly.

This stamping is identical and beautiful and one of many different butterflies found at B'Sue's.  The piece on the right or at the top, is not Japan, China or Western German, but it is the same exact stamping that probably cam out in the 1960's.  You can find it here .

An Addendum: The Geisha Girl Heart

As I posted, one of the gals in the B'Sue Creative Group, Mary Reckmeyer, sent me a copy of of a beautiful stamping that she bought from B'Sue's that was an exact copy of a pin that she got from thrift store shopping (one of my favorite past times). You can find the link
here .

Photo Credit: Mary Reckmeyer

And that's about it for right now.  Sorry this was so long, but I had a lot to share.  I am one of those people who will use the stampings in my jewelry but also collect them.  I love history, and costume jewelry has a history of its own that links it to American in a way that nothing else quite can.  It reflects our culture and social and political landscape.  It reflects how women were perceived and how they wanted to be perceived.And it reflects metal shortages and how even through wars we kept the jewelry and ideas alive.  Little pieces of precious art.  Our heritage.