Saturday, October 30, 2010

the beautiful reach

As a child I loved the Ouija board, but mostly for thrills during sleepovers. But as I've grown older I've come to realize the beauty of the board and planchette, and how it was once an earnest oracle to communicate with lost loved ones. I think of the mourning, the grieving, the lovelorn, and suddenly the Ouija is a beautiful symbol of eternal love.

Bloodmilk's plancette pieces (at least for me) convey that sense of loss and love. They are modern mourning jewelry, both symbolic and aesthetic.

I'm also intrigued with this Victorian funerary piece, recast as a dramatic ring. Made of oxidized sterling silver, this "Our Darling" emblem is gorgeously embellished, a stark contrast to the planchette, but just as captivating.

And a final piece - this reliquary locket, created from repurposed rosary beads and a beautiful brass heart locket, connected by a silver seven sorrows rosary connector.

Bloodmilk's jewelry can be worn for its dramatic style. Or these pieces can act as signifiers, letting others know of your longing to reconnect with someone you've lost.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

R.I.P. Don Draper

As I mourn the end of Mad Men Season Four, I ponder what would Don Draper do with his ashes. I think he'd go for something simple yet elegant. Something like this:

Although it looks mid-century, this modernist urn is contemporary, and can be purchased at Portland Natural Caskets. Made from salvaged Oregon grown Walnut and FSC Certified maple, this urn would fit in with any modernist decor. It has all the beauty of a mid century sideboard, but measures only 16"(w) x 6"(h) x 7"(d). Unlike most urns, this one provides space for displaying personal mementos, even a highball (or two). I've never seen anything like it, and I think it's seriously gorgeous.

And Peggy Olson? I hate to even think of her demise. But when her time comes, I think she'd prefer something a little more artistic, like this Rosenthal Netter Italy Pottery urn set (thanks Vintage + Goodness = Happiness).

And Joan? I see her in something like this gorgeous yet bold Raymor Pedestal Vase, offered by Cammoo.
Of course, I'm not here to plot the demise of my favorite television characters. I'm inspired by the Modernist design renaissance ignited by this show, yet surprised there are so few options when it comes to memorials and urns. We think about how we live, but not how we die - why not do it in style? I'm especially thankful to Portland Natural Casket Company for their innovative designs, and plan to post more on them soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

could these be urns?


I'm looking for fabricators to turn items like these into repurposed urns. These pics came from a recent visit to the Rose Bowl Flea Market, and are just a small example of items that could possibly be repurposed into urns. I realize some of these items might be impractical, but with a little imagination and ingenuity others could work. I'm personally excited for a punch clock urn : )

Here are the standard urn requirements: 1) must hold 200-250 cubic inches, which comes out to about 6 pounds; 2) must be air and water tight; 3) if it's opened widely, it should be lined and perhaps padded. I'm looking for a fabricator who can work with wood, metal, or both. The item can either retain its original look, or there could be a few artistic flourishes.

Please contact me if you're interested in working with me on this at Although I don't have these exact items, these pics should give you an idea of how wide the concept of an urn can be. Thanks to all!

Lunch boxes could easily work, especially the larger sizes.

A jewelry box like this could be hollowed out beneath, and the top could be used to keep personal mementos.
For the guys, a sturdy, well-worn tool box.

This globe is kind of beat up, but there might be other sturdier versions.

Awesome ammo boxes!
Going somewhere?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Modern Relics by Alix Bluh

Like a grieving goldilocks, I've been searching for the perfect mourning jewelry. Not too goth, not too sweet. Not too retro, not too trendy. Modern Relics, a line of jewelry created by Alix Bluh, is right on cue - timeless yet modern, and always gorgeous. Her handcrafted necklaces, rings and bracelets feature memorial icons like hearts, anchors and skulls. I'm especially intrigued with her reliquary glass pods, which lend their contents an aura that's both precious and mysterious.

This Eyeris necklace below has a talismanic quality, yet it's also reminiscent of miniature eye portraits that began in the 18th century. Whether it was a deposed king or a forbidden lover, miniature eyes were a way to keep a secret portrait close to one's heart without causing scandal. So romantic and intriguing! (Thanks to Hayden Peters at Art of Mourning for this excellent blog entry on the subject.)

But my favorite piece? This commissioned mourning necklace for a cat who passed away. It's powerful, talismanic, and reminds me of a religious relic.

If you live in San Francisco, reward yourself with a visit to Alix's Modern Relics atelier near the De Young Museum and Academy of Sciences. Her store features lots of beautiful pieces, including the gorgeous work of ceramicist Diana Fayt. In the meantime, please take a look at my interview with Alix!