Friday, August 23, 2013

The Skinny: Harry Clarke

In Cork, Ireland, there is an art museum called the Crawford Art Gallery. I went for an exhibit called "Analysing Cubism" (which wasn't great), but I ended up falling in love with an exhibit called "A Revel in Blue." I'm a sucker for blue.

It is a small museum, but there are several floors. I gave up on the cubism exhibit pretty quickly, so I left my group behind and went to wander the rest of the museum on my own. There are portraits, and landscapes, and small displays of silverwork. I climbed the stairs, braving the uneven air conditioning in a very old building, and explored the rest of the rooms on my own. I enjoyed it, but didn't really have a gasp-worthy moment, so after an hour or so, I had decided to part ways with the museum. But, on the top floor, on my way back to the staircase, I saw one more room. It looked dark, and I thought it might be nothing, but I decided that since I was up there, I might as well go peek. Here was my gasp-worthy moment (and I almost missed it!).
At Length Burst in the Argent Revelry, Harry Clarke

There were no overhead lights, just a beautiful blue glow. The blue came from a series of illustrations, all studies for stained glass panels by Harry Clarke to illustrate scenes from a John Keats poem called The Eve of St. Agnes. It was breathtaking, and I was the only one in this world. There were also a few stained glass pieces, and some other awesome illustrations that Clarke did for Edgar Allen Poe stories.
Madeline--St. Agnes' Charmed Maid, Harry Clarke

The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans, Harry Clarke
Stained glass panel from The Eve of St. Agnes

I just had to know more about him. The gift shop told me a little, most notably that Harry Clarke also illustrated an edition of Hans Christian Andersen stories. I decided to dig a little more online. (I confess that I am simultaneously excited, embarrassed, and outraged that, as a collector of illustrated fairy tales, I have never seen this Andersen edition, nor had I heard of Harry Clarke. I had to fix this. And P.S., Christmas list, people! I need this book!)
Thumbelina, Harry Clarke

The Tinderbox, Harry Clarke

Harry Clarke is Ireland's most famous stained glass artist. Born in 1889, he started as an apprentice in his father's studio before studying stained glass at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. As a first year student, one of Clarke's stained glass panels won a gold medal at an art competition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He married Margaret Crilly, a fellow student at the college, and set himself up doing commission stained glass pieces and book illustrations (beginning with the Andersen tales in 1916).
Aquarius, Harry Clarke
 After his father's death, Harry took over the studio and spent several productive years designing commission pieces for various churches in Ireland, England, Australia, and America. Unfortunately, he contracted tuberculosis. After traveling to Switzerland to recover his health, Harry Clarke died in 1931 at the age of 41.

Marie Rouget, Harry Clarke

He was known for his quality, craftsmanship, and fine detail. He specialized in merging the beautiful and the grotesque, like in his illustrations for Faust, The Fall of the House of Usher and other Poe stories.
Illustration from Faust, Harry Clarke
Illustration from Faust, Harry Clarke
The Fall of the House of Usher, Harry Clarke

The Tell-Tale Heart, Harry Clarke

*Information obtained from and

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On the Radar -- Furry Balls

Fendi's furry ball keychains
So, we Blackbird girls love balls.  It's no secret.  We say it proudly.  Then we giggle.

I say it's no secret because we have talked about balls before on the blog.  More specifically, our favorite type of balls -- blue balls.  (If you need a refresher course, then check out that post, here.)  But this week, we move on to our second favorite type of balls -- furry balls.  I collect furry balls.  I have furry ball poodle pins, and hats with furry balls.  And today, I felt the urge to wear my furry ball hedgehog sweater clips with my cardigan.  Maybe, it's because I knew, somehow, that the rest of the world is in love with furry balls, too!

I was flipping through my Bazaar today, and what did I see?  A Jimmy Choo purse and shoes with furry balls!!

They remind me of the fuzzy puffs we use to wear on our roller skates -- you know, the ones with the bells?

And if that's not kiddie enough for you, then how about Fendi's Fur Monster charm?

Or you can try Brian Atwood's furry ball shoe, if you don't want Jimmy's:

And Eudon Choi had furry balls on the models' heads.  (Hee hee.  She looks soooo happy!)

But me, I just buy vintage.  Literally, I buy vintage.  I was totally looking for things for this post, and I bought this from Sweet Geek Vintage on Etsy.  Only $5!  Hands off -- it's mine now!

I did leave a furry ball for you -- although, you might need to move fast.  It's calling to me:

Available here, from Pink Rhino Vintage on Etsy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Junk Love: Drumroll, Please

We've been doing this blog for a year, and we always face a dilemma when it comes to choosing which of our own collections is ready to be debuted on Junk Love. Sometimes, it's because we don't think our collection is big enough yet. Sometimes, we have a crossover crisis (should the tray collection be its own post, or should it be a part of a cocktail post, or should that one tray be in an Asian post, and that Peter Max tray be in the Peter Max post????). Sometimes, a collection is just really, really big. The cocktail collection is one of the biggies, and we've started breaking it down to manageable little posts. The other biggie: pinups.

I honestly have no idea how many pinups I have. I have struggled for a year with how exactly to break this collection down. Girls with dogs? Girls with skirts blowing up? Blondes vs. brunettes vs. gingers? Airport girls? Military girls? Girls in lingerie?

After lengthy discussion, we're still not sure about it. But, because sometimes it's fun to take the easy way out first, and worry about the hard stuff later, we decided that the first batch of pinups in this blog feature will all be advertising blotters. Enjoy (and I dare you to not love them)!

I specialize in Elvgren, so 98% of the collection is a great big party of Elvgren girls. Naturally, my blotters fall into this category, although there is one delightful exception: the Zoe Mozert parachutist on top.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Skinny -- Doris and Romance

It's time for another classic movie lesson, kids!  I'm still griping about the other Blackbird leaving me for two whole weeks to traipse through Ireland.  While she was gone, I had to entertain myself, and what better way to do that than to watch movies on Turner Classic.  Music, fashion, and movie romance can comfort like nothing else can.

August is TCM's Summer Under the Stars Month, and the second day of the month -- right smack dab in the middle of her trip -- was Doris day.  That is, Doris Day day.  Hmmm, I thought.  This will make me feel better...

Now, we Blackbirds have some very particular inside jokes with this movie that I cannot divulge, but just know that Doris' spunky, slang-y, nightclub singin' character is one of our faves.  Plus, the clothing is just divine!  Like this beaded bow adorned dress:

Doris plays Georgia Garrett, a nightclub singer that plans lavish vacations she can't afford.  She meets high society lady Elvira Kent at the travel agency, and their passport photos get mixed up.  Elvira is certain that her husband is cheating on her, so she hires Georgia to take her trip in her place when she returns the photo.  Meanwhile, Mr. Kent hires a private detective to follow Elvira on her trip -- because he thinks she's cheating!  Of course, Georgia falls for the detective, and the romantic mix-ups begin. 

This was Doris' first movie role, and she got the part only after Judy Garland turned it down and Betty Hutton found out she was pregnant.  She was 23, and was known as a vocalist and band singer.  The role catapulted her into stardom, and earned an Academy Award nomination for her ballad, "It's Magic."  The song became a huge hit, and sold over a million copies.

The fashion is incredible.  Georgia got to travel with Elvira's wardrobe to make it believable, and I am envious!  Gowns, jewelry,'s a visual feast.  The costumes were designed by Milo Anderson.  Amazing!

Here's a clip of "It's Magic" for your enjoyment! 

And this is for the other Blackbird...