Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Friday, September 5, 2014

Love of Southwest jewelry

I had my first piece of silver and turquoise at the age of 15, bought in a hotel lobby in Arizona when traveling with my aunt and uncle. It is a bracelet of the Harvey type having stamped thunderbirds and a small piece of turquoise.  The Harvey pieces and similar such were made for sale to tourists and featured things from never never land like thunderbirds, an anglo man's ideas imposed on Indian art to make tourist items.  This bracelet now belongs to a dear friend in San Antonio, I gave it to her when it fit her wrist as a child years ago.    I have had a few old pieces over time, some Indian made and signed, some not known.  I buy some pieces and wear them a while and resell them and enjoy a different one.    This old Squash variant with talons from some predatory bird, is an unusual piece I have not see the like of before.  There is a lot of silver work on it and some wear on the old talons. I do not know the origin of this piece. 

In 1991 and 92 Jack and I learned to make some simple Navajo style pieces, and these are still my favorite to wear.  Examples are the crosses I made. The bird was perhaps my most complex piece, almost sculpted from a piece of sheet silver. To me it too is a cross form.  The beads and chain pictured here were not made by me but purchased from Indian Jeweler's Supply in Gallup NM. 

The Isleta cross necklace is styled like one from that pueblo.  These early necklaces were featured in the book Heart of the Dragonfly by Allison Bird.  When I was studying the jewelry, my brother took me on a 9 day trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe and Taos to see the museum collections there. That trip is a treasured memory!     

My nicest piece may be the dime beads made by Jackie of old silver dimes. The naja I wear on it is one I made, when I had not yet learned to use silver  solder of different heat requirements. As I would fasten the pieces on one end of the naja the other pieces would melt off!  It took a full day and 18 tries I remember to get it together!   These beads are heavy and wonderful!  I find them too heavy to wear more than a few hours at a time. 
One of my daughters recently bought the lovely heavy beads pictured below and lets me wear them. These are called Navajo pearls now, I never heard the term a long time ago, though they may have been called such then too. 
We like them long so I got out my box of a few remaining supplies and made a 6 inch extender to go at the back of the neck, thus letting the beads hang three inches longer. Just working with the sterling chain and clasps and jeweler's pliers gave me the fever to make jewelry again.   I would like to make another hat band sometime, like a tiny concho belt with medallions on a thin piece of leather.  A piece of an old rein is best for this.  I think I have some somewhere.... e

1 comment:

  1. Just beautiful! Thank you for sharing your collections. I loved seeing your textiles in your sewing nook a little while back. Mouse


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