Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lover's Eyes - Artists Fatima Ronquillo, Jeanine Payer, and Betsy Youngquist

One of my favorite contemporary artists is Fatima Ronquillo. Originally from the Philippines, she now resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fatima paints stunningly beautiful figures in a fine, old European classical style.

 I love  how refined the paintings are, but with a folk like quality, and almost always with a little quirk or twist.

They are clearly symbolic, evoking the solid feeling that there is more than meets the eye when looking at them.

 I always want to know the story behind the painting.

So, as I began to study these paintings, I spied a common feature in some of the works.
The brooch with an eye on some of the articles of clothing caught my attention and of course I had to figure out what it meant. 

And so, I began to research antique "Lover's Eyes".

As the name implies, the eye on the piece of jewelry was that of a loved one - perhaps a lover, or a deceased loved one, as a form of mourning jewelry.

 One person told me they were a way of carrying a  partial photo of a secret lover, "secret" implying they would not want to carry the entire photo for fear of exposure. 

Others told me they might be for a husband, wife or another loved one, as a sentimental reminder of that person while away.

Like the soldier - is his love secret, or missed, as he is away from home?

Whatever they were meant to be, they are romantic, bizarre, and in my opinion, quite wonderful!

The eye might be a photograph, or portion of one, or hand painted. They can be found on rings, pendants or brooches.



Here is a wonderful assortment of antique Lover's Eye pieces found on The Ornamentalist, a really interesting blog written by artist and decorative painter, Lynn Rutter.

For more history and detail about Lover's Eyes,
 visit her blog post, "Eye Candy".

Betsy Youngquist is a contemporary artist who creates magnificent, detailed mosaic jewelry and decorative objects. 

 I found these eye pendants on her Etsy site. Aren't they strangely beautiful!


When my daughter and I were in San Francisco in March, we discovered the most wonderful, small jewelry shop, Jeanine Payer.


The exquisitely designed little shop,  tiny, but filled with handmade jewelry, each piece engraved with poetry, captured our hearts for a good part of an afternoon.

The pieces we saw were subtle and dear - nothing flashy here, but oh what beauty.

So, as I perused the lovely cases of jewelry, my eye landed on the necklace below. 

I couldn't believe it! 
I had just recently become fascinated with  Lover's Eyes, and what a happy coincidence it was to stumble upon this contemporary little gem!

I asked the shop keeper to show me the necklace and to tell me about it, not knowing for sure if it was meant to be a lover's eye. 

When she said "Well, are you familiar with antique lover's eyes pendants?" I was thrilled!

My immediate reply was "Oh I was hoping you would ask me that!"
and then explained to her that I had just recently become enthralled with the whole concept. 

Created in both silver and gold, the silver one came home with me. It is attached to a lovely silver chain, too, as seen above.

On the back is engraved:

Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward; for there you have been, there you long to return.

- Leonardo da Vinci

I loved the gold one with the different toned eye, but the price difference was considerable, so the silver is just fine for me.

Now I will be on the hunt for the antique brooches, pendants or rings, although I understand they are rare and very expensive.

If I find one though, you will be the first to know! 

Premier Issue of Trad home!!

The premier issue of Tradhome is online now!

As mentioned in a previous post, my friend Callie Jenschke and her partner Nicki Clendening are featured among the top twenty young designers.

It is a beautiful first issue and is chock full of great design. The other nineteen designers mentioned are talented and fresh, and I am off to read it cover to cover.

Go now - it's good!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Food Day 2011

                       One of the nicest people I met in 2010 is Meg Fielding of Pigtown Design.

I had been reading Meg's blog occasionally for several years, but had never corresponded with Meg until right before Christmas. I made a donation to Woodbourne, another one of her favorite causes, and we emailed a bit after that.

Meg is good this way. I am guilty of thinking too much about giving and sometimes forget to 

Meg gets is done.
Three years ago Meg and Chris Cox, editor of Easy and Elegant Life started April Food Day, encouraging everyone to help out in some way, whether you give to your local food pantry or donate to a larger network of fund raising for food.

I am sharing astounding information here that I just read on Meg's blog.
  • In 2009, 50.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33 million adults and 17.2 million children
  • In 2009, households with children reported food insecurity at almost double the rate for those without children, 21.3 percent compared to 11.4 percent.
  • In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (21.3 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.6 percent) or single men (27.8 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.9 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).
  • In 2009, 7.8 percent of seniors living alone (884,000 households) were food insecure.

 All of this, after I just put my coffee cup down and casually, without even thinking much about it, walked into my kitchen to prepare a healthy bowl of cereal with fresh fruit because I was feeling a bit queasy after drinking my wonderful hot cup of coffee on an empty stomach - oh what we take for granted!

  • Feeding America provides emergency food assistance to approximately 5.7 million different people per week.
  • Among members of Feeding America, 74 percent of pantries, 65 percent of kitchens, and 54 percent of shelters reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites.
  •       Feeding America, the national food bank,has set up a website for donations.

  • To help out click here

 Don't be just a "do good thinker" like me.....do it now.

Start your day by giving - I am going to, right now...I promise.


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