Sunday, June 24, 2012

Favorite Find Of The Weekend

 This is my favorite find of the weekend - possibly one of my favorite finds ever!  I apologize for so many pictures of one item but I'm trying to figure this out and hoping some of you know something about it and can educate me.  The bell jar is clearly fairly modern but there are no markings on it.
 The bouquet is made of very intricate, handmade millinery flowers.  Some of them are very unusual.  The stems are wrapped with something that looks like gauze, not floral tape.
 There is some wheat and another dried something in the top.  The unknown grain has some glitter on it, although it isn't any kind of glitter I am familiar with.
 The ring around the bottom looks a lot like the Victorian post-mortem hair jewelry.  There is a closer picture below.
 The little fabric base is pleated and machine stitched with very close, tiny stitches.  It is hand-gathered and sewn around the top.  The sewing needle is still inserted on the edge.  Is there some significance to it being left there??
 Click this picture bigger for a closer look.  The clerk at the thrift store was convinced it was the real thing but I think that is unlikely since there is wire wrapping.  I Googled about it and it says hair jewelry is not reproduced because it is too time consuming to make.  So what is it then?
The holder looks like bisque.  The bouquet is not permanently attached to it.  The stems are wrapped in muslin and there are little wads of paper stuffed in around it to keep it in place.  The bouquet stands about 10" tall.
When I first spotted it I grabbed it because the price was very right and I wanted the bell jar.  I figured I could take the bouquet apart and use the flowers for something else.  I know it isn't dignified to talk about what you paid for something but I'm into breaking rules lately so I will just say it.  I paid $2.99.
So here is my quandary.  I have become enamoured with it and it is staying just the way it is and right here with me.  It is kind of wobbly inside the bell jar so unless you tell me I am doing unspeakable and irreversible harm to a great thing, I am going to hot glue in into the bell jar so it doesn't slide around.  What do you think?


Blessed Serendipity said...

That is so cool! It looks like hair "art" to me. So interesting to look at. What a find.


Andy's Attic said...

I have not a clue what it is. I do know that parts of it alone are worth 2.99 so you scorded!! Hope you post what you find out about it.

My Vintage Mending said...

Glue dots. Do it to every thing. That way it isn't as permanent. That is amazing. What a work of art. Probably took someone hours and hours. All for under 3 dollars. Wow...Smiles..Renee

oldgreymare said...

got me stumped..

laurie -magpie ethel said...

my first guess was hair art.

Laurie said...

I think French hair art did use wire wrapping, didn't it? I can't imagine that it is anything besides a tiny hair art wreath I sort of think, though, that perhaps the hair wreath and the silky pleated piece were originally together but not the bouquet. Here's my guess: maybe someone inherited the hair and silk and wanted a way to display it, so they had it put together with the old millinery and the tussy mussy, possibly from the same estate, and put it under the dome...maybe in the 1970's? I wouldn't glue it. I would do something less permanent. In fact, if it was me, I think I'd keep the hair art framed separately. Fun, Kathy! Thank you for showing your mystery item!

Annette said...

Well, that is very intriguing. I wonder if it's someone's crafty way of putting some keepsakes together. I don't blame you for wanting to keep it.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Wow, this is amazing and what a deal you got. I know how expensive Victorian hair art can be, but I'm certainly no expert on the matter. I agree that you probably don't want to do anything permanent to alter it. Whenever I'm in doubt about something potentially valuable, I get it appraised. You probably have places in the Portland area that do free appraisal clinics every so often. Awesome find!

cathy @ma vie trouvee said...

what a fascinating find Kathy - in traveling I have seen many shrines made of hair and teeth and bones - many in spain and Portugal. I would keep it exactly s is until you research it more! Will see if I can pull up some photo and send to your email address.

Vintage by Crystal said...

Wow that really is a find! That aboslutely is Victorian hair art. I own a large (and very expensive) wreath in a frame and it is all wire wrapped. Hair jewelry was made in a variety of ways, but hair wreaths were almost always wire wrapped, mostly forming flowers. Large wreaths were U shaped to let the luck pour in and stay in and my personal guess is that they weren't always from deceased family members, but probably from all members of the family at the time of commission/creation. The hair piece alone is worth at least $100 I would assume, but probably more. Great score!

Vintage by Crystal said...

Oh...and here's a link to a post on my hair wreath. :)