Curious Mood Boards

I have been busy this summer freshening up my Etsy shop Curious Portraits in preparation for the holiday season. I make a habit of reviewing the product shots in the shop from time to time which I find has a similar effect of re-arranging the art on the walls. It makes everything look new! I have been very inspired by the many beautiful Mood Boards I see on Instagram and have discovered how much I love putting together cherished, vintage objects from my collection.  The result of all this is an on-going project of styling some of the items from my shop in with the vintage collectibles. They make a pleasing display and a gentle advertisement all in one!

Animal Portrait Brooches from  www.CuriousPortraits.Etsy.com

Animal Portrait Brooches from www.CuriousPortraits.Etsy.com

This is the latest in the series featuring some of my favorite vintage jewelry arranged with my Animal Portrait Brooches. I often use my own textile designs printed out as the background, this is one of my original damask stripes.

Lisa-Zador-Portrait-Miniatures

I thought that some of my vintage buttons and notions made a pleasing display when arranged with some of my Victorian inspired Portrait Miniatures. (You can read more about the inspiration and making of these here)

I used one of my favorite vintage alarm clocks in this one along with a few writing notions. I thought the soft grey of my Daisy the Squirrel Portrait Miniature complimented the color scheme.

Bingo-Mood-Board-sml.jpg

My dog Bingo also got his paws into it and created this one featuring his own portrait miniature with one of my original dog themed textile designs in the background!

New Beaded Portrait Miniatures and Mourning Brooches

I have been fascinated by the beauty of antique portrait miniatures since my first visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Uffizi in Florence. I am no expert on the subject but from what I have learned over the years is that they were often given as a keepsake by a loved one and were popular until the development of photography. Also referred to as mourning portraits they were given as a memento mori to mark the passing of a loved one or in the vanitas style of the day meant to remind the recipient of the transience of life.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Portrait Miniatures

Here are 2 beautiful examples from the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection.  A fascinating variation of the Portrait Miniature is the Eye Portrait.  Given as love tokens, having only the eye painted kept the identity of the subject a secret to everyone but the beloved recipient. I find the idea of this clandestine gift giving so touching .

Some examples of Georgian Lover's Eye Brooches

Some examples of Georgian Lover's Eye Brooches

My fascination with this art form led me to design a contemporary version using my own animal portraits which already have a Victorian theme. I was first introduced to the art of bead work by costume designer Ramona Ponce. I remember watching her doing her intricate bead work and just itching to get my hands into a big jar of glistening glass beads! It wasn't until I saw the embroidered bird brooches of Conieco and the whimsical wall hangings of Rebecca Purcell that I began to imagine how beautiful the combination of Victorian animal portraits and bead work could be. All the following ornaments are available in a round or oval format in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits.

Here is a sample of my first set of portrait miniatures. I used the eye from my Deer Portrait as I thought it was the most alluring of all the animals!

Here is a sample of my first set of portrait miniatures. I used the eye from my Deer Portrait as I thought it was the most alluring of all the animals!

I began with a printed image of the animal and sealed it behind a resin cabochon (as I do in my brooches). I then glue that onto a double sided felt setting with a cardboard insert and a grosgrain hanging ribbon and hand sew the rows of black glass beads, which I import from the Czech Republic. A final layer of felt backing is applied to make it neat and ready to hang! The round ornaments measure approximately 2 3/4" in diameter and the oval ornaments measure 2 3/8" x 2 3/4".

 Uncle Omelette may be my favorite portrait miniature, his unusual countenance seems perfect for this presentation.

 Uncle Omelette may be my favorite portrait miniature, his unusual countenance seems perfect for this presentation.

The White Rabbit looks especially good in a round format.

The White Rabbit looks especially good in a round format.

My Headless Skeleton Ornament should appeal to all you Victoriana and Gothic aficionados out there!

My Headless Skeleton Ornament should appeal to all you Victoriana and Gothic aficionados out there!

Etsy Shop Facelift

As an Etsy seller I always find January and February to be a good time to review the items in my shop, Curious Portraits. I have learned to keep track of things that I notice need improvement during the holiday frenzy when there is no time to address them. Then when things slow down I can tackle them one by one. Two weeks ago a spike in Halloween themed sales had me up-dating item descriptions for all of my goblins, pumpkin men and skeletons. This week I've been looking at my Christmas ornament listings. I have been feeling the need to re-photograph them for awhile and realized while doing so that if I photographed the non-Christmas themed ornaments in a non-Christmas setting that I could re-list them as wall decor instead of Christmas ornaments. This was very timely as Etsy recently re-vamped their categories and I had to re-evaluate my old ones anyway. I also re-titled them as Portrait Miniatures instead of Christmas Ornaments. Since I am in the process of designing a new, higher end line of Victorian inspired Portrait Miniatures for the shop these can now act as ambassadors for the new product! As soon as I get my hands on some holly or red berries I will re-photograph the Christmas themed ornaments as well since I do like a little Christmas cheer in my holiday listings! Here are the before and after shots, let me know what you think!

New Portrait Miniatures Listings

New Portrait Miniatures Listings

I used a damask stripe that I had designed for another project and printed it out in soft, neutral tones for the background.

New Portrait Miniatures Listings

New Portrait Miniatures Listings

Former Christmas Ornaments Listings

Former Christmas Ornaments Listings

For the new Christmas Listings I will keep the red ribbon and add in some greenery and red berries (if I can find any in February) but put them on a cleaner background, perhaps the same damask stripe that l used in the Portrait Miniatures of which I am so fond.